Same-sex marriage is now legal in Oklahoma.
When the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday morning that it would not take up the appeals of Oklahoma and four other states in lower court rulings overturning bans on gay marriage, it cleared an immediate path to what many believe has long been lacking in those states: marriage equality.
In Oklahoma, LGBT couples wanting to legally marry were overcome with emotion.
"Jen and I are going to get married," Karina Tittjung told a friend over the phone, as tears flowed down her cheeks.
Karina and Jennifer Hasler were among a dozen or so couples who happily waited in line this afternoon for their turn to get a marriage license.
"I told you," Hasler said to her long-time partner, "you would marry me."
If Hasler and Tittjung had had their way, this moment would've happened eight years ago. But the long wait, coupled with national momentum favoring the legalization of gay marriage, meant that they were ready when the news of the Supreme Court (in)action came today. As soon as they heard that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had lifted the stay it had placed on same-sex marriages pending a resolution of the state's appeal, they rushed to the Oklahoma County Courthouse.
Kenny Wright and Bo Bass were just behind them in line. The two men have been together for 18 years and said they could have gone out of state to get married, as many of their friends have, but wanted to wait until Oklahoma recognized their commitment.
"We're just happy," said Bass, "just elated."
"It's...it's unbelievable," said Wright.
Hasler and Tittjung also thought about going out of state to get married, but decided to wait. Hasler says she is a veteran and wanted Karina to be legally recognized to receive her benefits, in the event something should happen to her.
Hasler said she is extremely proud to be a veteran, but said that has also made their wait for Monday more difficult.
"After fighting for this country, and everything that I believe in that's great about this country," said Hasler, "it was kind of heartbreaking to not be allowed to marry the person that I love."
Monday, however, that heartbreak was a distant memory, and the long wait seemed well worth it.
"This license doesn't validate my love for her," Hasler stated, "but it definitely makes me feel like I'm a human being, recognized in these great United States."
Hasler and Tittjung, Wright and Bass, along with numerous other couples were planning to take part in a religious marriage ceremony Monday night at 7 p.m. at Mayflower Church in Oklahoma City.
While many are celebrating Monday's developments, Oklahoma's top elected officials have been critical of them.
Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement said, which reads, in part, "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.”
Fallin points out that in 2004, Oklahomans voted, by a margin of 3 to 1, to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
And, in addition to the Governor, criticism has come from some lawmakers, as well as, from state Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
In a statement, Attorney General Pruitt said, "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.”