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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Blasts SCOTUS Decision Allowing Gay Couples to Marry

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today blasted the Supreme Court's decision to let stand the 10th Circuit ruling which declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, opening the door for gay couples to marry in that state.

FallinSaid Fallin:

"The people of Oklahoma have the right to determine how marriage is defined. In 2004, Oklahomans exercised that right, voting by a margin of 3-1 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

"The will of the people has now been overridden by unelected federal justices, accountable to no one. That is both undemocratic and a violation of states' rights. Rather than allowing states to make their own policies that reflect the values and views of their residents, federal judges have inserted themselves into a state issue to pursue their own agendas.

"Today's decision has been cast by the media as a victory for gay rights. What has been ignored, however, is the right of Oklahomans and Americans in every state, to write their own laws and govern themselves as they see fit. Those rights have once again been trampled by an arrogant, out-of-control federal government that wants to substitute Oklahoma values with Washington, D.C. values."

Fallin's statement came as county clerks in Oklahoma and several other states began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples...

Read our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of today's SCOTUS news HERE.

Watch a news report from Oklahoma's KTUL on today's news, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Blasts SCOTUS Decision Allowing Gay Couples to Marry" »


WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin

Virginia

Huge day for equality as gay couples in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin have finally secured the freedom to marry after the Supreme Court refused to review seven gay marriage cases before it this morning.

The court's decision has also paved the way for marriage equality to begin in Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Wyoming in the near future. 

Tons of footage and pictures are streaming in from couples who are taking part in this historic day. Check out our rolling coverage AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

(photo via Instagram)

Continue reading "WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin" »


10th Circuit Lifts Stay on Utah and Oklahoma Gay Marriage Cases

Ut_ok

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued orders lifting its stay on rulings striking down Utah and Oklahoma's bans on same-sex marriage - paving the way for marriage equality to begin not only in those two states, but Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming as well. 

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced he will make a statement on today's gay marriage news 11:30 MT

Here are the incoming orders, courtesy of Equality Case Files


SCOTUS To Consider Hearing Gay Marriage Cases From 5 States on Sept. 29

SUPREMEThe Supreme Court has announced it will consider seven petitions from five states--Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsinon--on whether those states' same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. The Court, currently on hiatus, will discuss the cases in a private meeting on September 29, its first conference of the year. Same-sex couples along with representatives of the states barring them from marrying have been petitioning the Court to review their cases and provide legal clarity on the question of marriage equality. USA Today reports:

By scheduling all for consideration simultaneously, the justices gave equal footing to the Indiana and Wisconsin cases just decided last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The 10th and 4th Circuits previously ruled in the other cases.

The court could agree to hear one or more cases this winter; deny them all, or delay its decision for a while.

In all five states, federal district and appellate judges have agreed that state bans on same-sex marriage should be struck down as unconstitutional. But those decisions are on hold pending the Supreme Court's review.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: "If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement."


Plaintiffs in Oklahoma and Virginia Gay Marriage Cases Ask Supreme Court to Weigh In

Earlier this week, we reported that  plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

ScotusNow, the plaintiffs challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Virginia have similarly followed suit and asked the highest court in the land to review their cases as well, The Advocate reports:

When the justices return from vacation in late September, they'll likely find unanimous agreement from all parties that they should consider a marriage equality case. But which cases the court will pick remains in question.

It's worth noting that the cases would have reached the Supreme Court even if the plaintiffs hadn't filed their petitions. The defendants in the cases — attorneys representing the states — have filed petitions as well.

Previously, the same-sex couples serving as plaintiffs in all three states won major victories at the district court and appellate level. UtahOklahoma, and Virginia all enjoyed an unbroken string of victories for the freedom to marry. Ordinarily, the victorious side would oppose a rehearing, as it runs the risk of overturning the decision. But the motivation behind the plaintiffs' briefs boils down to their desire to expand their victories nationwide.

The court has the option of taking up one case, multiple cases, or none at all and could defer a decision until next June. 


Death Of Gay Tulsa Man Regarded As Suspicious, Tulsa Police Counter Claims

Benny Longoria

Benny Longoria of Tulsa, OK was found dead in his apartment on June 20th, but despite Longoria's body being found naked and the apartment covered in blood, Tulsa police are allegedly refusing to investigate the case as suspicious. Dallas activist C.D. Kirven was contacted about the case as it was suspected to be one of HIV/AIDS-related discrimination.

Tulsa Police Sgt. David Walker claimed that Longoria's death was a combination of ethanol abuse and HIV/AIDS, but Longoria's physician Dr. Frances Haas has not signed a death warrant nor has he confirmed any cause of death. Under these circumstances the Tulsa police are supposed to be investigating the death as suspicious. Additionally, Longoria's body was cremated, allegedly at the request of the police due to his HIV status.

Tulsa police are countering this claim and saying that the original Dallas Voice piece contains false information. They released a statement, saying: 

Mr. Longoria’s death was not suspicious in nature therefore it was not further investigated. The Tulsa Police Department does not investigate deaths in which there are no signs of foul play and the individual’s attending physician will sign the death certificate. The Tulsa Police Department responds to many natural deaths in which the attending physician signs the death certificate and there is no autopsy conducted.

Sgt. Walker and other members of the Department have spoken with the family members of Mr. Longoria several times to provide information reference area funeral homes, the medical examiner’s phone number as well as providing them with the victim’s obituary.

The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner claimed that Longoria's death was of natural causes, and that the request for cremation came through legal forms signed by Longoria's family.

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