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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Oklahoma

Part 6:
2014-JUL to 2015-JAN: U.S. 10th Circuit Court
of Appeals
issued a ruling, & a stay (Cont'd).
U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal and brings
marriage equality to Oklahoma. Prominent
"ex-gay" leader marries same-sex partner.

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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The acronym "LGBT" refers to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.

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2014-JUL-25: Three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued their ruling (Cont'd):

Judge Kelly became the first judge of a Circuit Court to oppose same-sex marriage in any case since the Supreme Court ruled in late 2013-JUN that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that have been legally solemnized in the U.S. He said that:

"... any change in the definition of marriage rightly belongs to the people of Oklahoma, not a federal court. ... At a time when vigorous public debate is defining policies concerning sexual orientation, this court has intervened with a view of marriage ostensibly driven by the Constitution. Unfortunately, this approach short-circuits the healthy political processes leading to a rough consensus on matters of sexual autonomy, and marginalizes those of good faith who draw the line short of same-gender marriage." 1

The Associated Press reported a statement issued by plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin on JUL-19. They said:

"We would like to thank the court for its time and careful consideration of our case, and we look forward to seeing Oklahoma gay and lesbian couples who love each other and want their relationships recognized by their government [to take] part fully in that right." 2

Byron Babione is a senior attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. This is the legal group that is defending Sally Howe Smith, the Tulsa County clerk. Babione said:

"Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Oklahoma confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union."

Toby Jenkins, executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, said:

"We're excited that Oklahoma will be counted among the places where all of its citizens are treated equally."

There is an interesting complexity in this case that has created mass confusion:

  • The office of Governor Mary Fallin (R) said that the case will be appealed.

  • The Attorney General, Scott Pruitt (R), has announced that he plans to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 3

But neither the Governor or the Attorney General of Oklahoma are defendants in the case. Thus it would seem that neither can appeal the case. The sole defendant is the Tulsa County Court Clerk, Sally Howe Smith. It is her decision whether or not to appeal the case. She could appeal the case to the full Court of Appeals, or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Chris Casteel of The Oklahoman commented:

4

Finally, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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2014-OCT-06: The U.S. Supreme Court makes an unexpected move:

The appeal of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling for Oklahoma was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court also rejected appeals from two other Circuit Courts. That rejection directly affecting four other states (IN, UT, VA, WI). This made the three Circuit Courts' rulings binding and final.

Marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Oklahoma starting on OCT-06, and couples began to marry. Plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin were one of the first to obtain a marriage license that day at the Tulsa County Court Clerk’s Office.

This decision by the Supreme Court eventually brought same-sex marriage to six additional states: (CO, KS, NC, SC, WV, WY) all of which are under the jurisdiction of one of the three Circuit Court whose appeals were rejected. However, some of the states -- notably Kansas and South Carolina -- resisted marriage equality until all of their legal options were exhausted. More details.

This surprise decision by the high court will bring same-sex marriage to 11 more states to make a total of 30 states and the District of Columbia with marriage equality. 60% of Americans then lived in locations where same-sex couples can marry. 5

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2014-OCT-18: Prominent leader of the "ex-gay" movement married his same-sex partner in Oklahoma:

For decades, the "ex-gay" movement taught that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can change their sexual orientation through prayer and reparative therapy, convert to heterosexuality, and become "ex-gay." Often, their belief system included the assertion that everyone is born heterosexual, some individuals choose to become gay or lesbian, and that many of them subsequently become addicted to the "gay lifestyle." Being closely affiliated with religious conservatives, many taught an interpretation of a half-dozen Bible passages which concluded that persons who engage in same-gender sexual behavior will automatically spend eterninty after death in the torture chambers of Hell. In contrast, essentially all persons in the LGBT community, religious liberals, psychiatrists, psychologists, other therapists, human sexuality researchers, and others had concluded that homosexuality is a normal, natural, unchosen, discovered, and unchangeable sexual orientation in adulthood for a minority of persons. The "ex-gay" movement essentially collapsed in 2013 when the leadership of the main group, Exodus International, terminated their group's conversion efforts, admitted that their therapy was ineffective, that they had caused great harm to their clients, and apologized to the LGBT community. Some have speculated that the conversion rate of their clients to heterosexuality was essentially zero, that they had been able to convince some lesbians and gays to become celibate and without a sexual partner for the rest of their life, and that they had been able to convince some persons with a bisexual orientation to restrict their sexual relationships to persons of the opposite-sex.

John Smit was involved in two prominent "ex-gay" groups. He was the director of Love in Action, and for 11 years had been a member of the board of directors of Exodus International. In 2011, he publically renounced "ex-gay" therapy and came out of the closet as a gay man.

He and his partner Larry McQueen, live in Paris, TX. they drove to Hugo, OK, obtained a marriage license, and were married in Tulsa,OK on 2014-NOV-16. He announced their wedding on Facebook, writing:

"I realized this week that my relationship with Larry is a mirror I see in every day. For most of my life, the mirror I saw reflected my mistakes, shortcomings and failures. The reflection I see today with Larry shows me the positive things in my life, my strengths, gifts and talents. I see how I can succeed at a mutual intimate and loving relationship. For this, I am truly grateful.

"At this time our federal government recognizes our legal marriage, [but] our home state of Texas does not. However, we hope that Texas will soon accept our marriage as legitimate and legal." 6

As of 2014-NOV, Texas remains one of the 14 states that has not yet legalized marriages by same-sex couples, and does not recognize out-of-state marriages by same-sex couples.

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On 2014-OCT-06. marriage equality arrived in Oklahoma, as well as
Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. They became the 21st to 24th states
that treat same-sex couples equal to opposite-sex couples in terms
of access to marriage.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Richard Wolf, "Appeals court strikes down Oklahoma gay marriage ban," USA Today, 2014-JUL-18, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  2. Alan Greenblatt, "Appeals Court Upholds Ruling To Lift Oklahoma Same-Sex-Marriage Ban," National Public Radio, 2014-JUL-18, at: http://www.npr.org/
  3. "Oklahoma same-sex marriages ruled constitutional for second time," The Guardian, 2014-JUL-18, at: http://www.theguardian.com/
  4. Chris Casteel, "Appeals court rules Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage violates U.S. Constitution," NewsOK, 2014-JUL-18, at: http://newsok.com/
  5. "How same-sex marriage is unfolding in Utah, other states," Salt Lake Tribune, 2014-OCT-07, at: http://www.sltrib.com/
  6. John Wright, "Former 'ex-gay' leader John Smid marries his same-sex partner in Oklahoma," Towleroad, 2014-NOV-18, at: http://www.towleroad.com/

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Oklahoma > here

Copyright © 2014 & 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2014-JUL-26
Latest update: 2015-JAN-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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