Joy and disappointment expressed over gay marriage ruling - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Joy and disappointment expressed over gay marriage ruling

DENVER, Colo._Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down.

A federal appeals court in Denver made the ruling on Friday. It's the same panel that previously declared Utah's ban unconstitutional, so the decision was not unexpected. In fact, federal courts across the country have struck similar bans in other states after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

Amy Merchant, president of Lawton/Fort Sill's Pride organization, said she never believed legalized gay marriage would happen, and now she is one step closer to seeing her wildest dreams come true.

"It's a validation that love really knows no bounds and if people choose to celebrate it with a civil or religious ceremony, they are able to," said Merchant.

Last month, the 10th District Court of Appeals ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Utah officials have already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case. The executive director for ACLU Oklahoma, Ryan Kiesel, believes Oklahoma will do the same, meaning the decision could be in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Kiesel said it could be the most anticipated Supreme Court ruling in recent history.

"I do think it puts us in a position where we could be as little as one year away from the Supreme Court's decision on a consideration and ruling on a case that could potentially deliver equality across the nation," said Kiesel.

Not everyone feels the same way. Governor Mary Fallin said it's just another instance where the federal government tramples over the rights of states.

"Their decision will be appealed and, I hope, overturned. As governor, I will continue to fight back against our federal government when it seeks to ignore or change laws written and supported by Oklahomans," said Governor Fallin.

Kiesel says this isn't about politics, it's about equal rights.

"This is a victory for families of Republicans, and Democrats, and independents,” said Kiesel.

There has been no decision on if, or when, the Supreme Court will hear Utah's case. Friday's ruling on Oklahoma's law was put on hold pending any appeal, which means gay marriages won't immediately take place here.

Gay rights groups across the state are planning celebrations Friday night, including two in Oklahoma City, and others in Tulsa and Norman.


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