The Supreme Court on Monday turned away seven same-sex marriage cases in five states, including Oklahoma. And now, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted its stay on gay marriage in Oklahoma, meaning that same-sex marriage is now legal in the state.
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused for now to take up the basic question of whether same-sex couples have a right to marriage.
While the decision is a setback for the gay rights movement's goal of achieving marriage equality nationwide, it does allow the lower court rulings in those five states to stand -- all in favor of marriage equality. That means same-sex couples in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia will be able to get married.
In July, 2014, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma violates the U.S. Constitution. In a Utah case, the court ruled June 25 that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed.
The court then issued a stay on the ruling until an appeal is heard at the US Supreme Court.
Governor Mary Fallin released the following statement,
“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.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also issued a statement on the ruling:
“I am disappointed the Supreme Court chose not to grant a hearing of these cases. The states have long held primacy in determining what constitutes the definition of marriage. That is why the state, though not named in the lawsuit, filed ‘friend of the court' briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to take up for review the case from Oklahoma. As recently as 2013, the Supreme Court in the Windsor case recognized that marriage is a state institution and that states in fact do have primacy in determining what constitutes the definition of marriage. That makes the decision today by the Supreme Court not to take up these cases for review even more troubling.”
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