SCOTUS Decision On Gay Marriage Cases Could Overturn Oklahoma's Ban

Friday, December 7th 2012, 10:32 pm
By: News On 6

The Supreme Court will soon hear two constitutional challenges to state and federal laws dealing with same sex marriage.

It will be the first time the issue has been seriously considered by the Supreme Court.

The court will hear two cases. One is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same sex marriage, and the other is California's 2008 ban on gay marriage.

Kelly Kirby and Charles Johnston are longtime Oklahomans and have been together for 13 years.

In 2008, the two walked down the aisle in California.

"It would have been nice to get married in Oklahoma," Johnston said. "It makes me feel like a second class citizen in the state."

Johnston admits it's a little scary knowing the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of same sex marriage, but he's confident this is a step in the right direction.

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"They will eventually lose, and I think we will eventually win. Until then, I try to view it as their problem and not my problem," Johnston said.

Many Oklahomans showed what side of the spectrum they were on when the 2004 Marriage Protection Amendment was added to the state constitution. It recognizes marriage as between only a man and a woman.

Former state lawmaker James Williamson was the architect of the amendment.

"The original founding fathers would find it laughable that a Supreme Court could say that there's a constitutional right for homosexuals to marry," Williamson said.

Williamson said he worries the high court could overrule Oklahoma's ban on same sex marriage.

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"To have judges, liberal judges, at any level indicate that there's some kind of constitutional right to marry any way you want to would not be consistent with our view of marriage," Williamson said.

But Kirby said times have changed and Oklahomans, along with the rest of the country, need to get on board.

"Fifty-something percent to 40-something percent of the country thinks we deserve marriage rights, and that's way different than it was, even in 2004, when Oklahoma had that vote on the constitutional amendment," Kirby said.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on both cases in March and issue rulings over the summer.