Local Reactions To Oklahoma's Marriage Law Ruling

LAWTON, Okla._Many conservatives and religious leaders in Oklahoma believe the federal government is overstepping their boundaries following the latest ruling on gay marriage in the state.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling has many wondering what that means for the state, especially since voters overwhelmingly came out in favor of the ban back in 2004.

Doug Passmore, Pastor of Lawton's First Baptist East, said when he heard the news Tuesday night he was disappointed, mostly because the state had already voted on this decision and the people decided how they felt about gay marriage.

"It's almost like you care less what the majority of the population felt by far and picked up on the minority," said Pastor Doug Passmore.

That's not the only reason why Passmore is upset, he is a man of God's word and he says a majority of Oklahoman's are too, and he said legalizing gay marriage is not what we need.

"If you push gay marriage far enough, you destroy a nation, or destroy a world because no babies will be born.  So how can anything be totally good from a rational standpoint if it ultimately destroyed a nation," said Passmore.

"Just like if a person came to me and asked if I would sanction them living together before marriage, same thing with gay marriage.  My principles are based out of God's word and therefore I can't marry anyone out of God's word.  I can tell you I don't marry divorced couples," said Passmore

State Representative Ann Coody of Lawton also opposes the ruling, calling it an intrusion of the federal government.

"I think when the federal government oversteps the rights of the states we have a dangerous situation," said Coody.

Coody said if it leads to legalizing gay marriage in Oklahoma, it will change the state, making many want to move out. She also said those in Oklahoma who want it to be legal had their chance and should have gotten out and voted when it was on the ballot.

Not everyone is upset by the ruling however.

For members of the LGBT community here in Lawton they have been waiting a long time and can't wait to see same sex marriage legalized in what some say is the most conservative state in the union.

"I never in my lifetime did I think in just a few short years that I would start to be asked about Oklahoma and that possibility," said Amy Merchant, member of Lawton/Ft. Sill Pride.

Amy Merchant, of Lawton/Ft. Sill Pride, was very excited when she got the news.

"I started to scream, I started to cry, it was an amazing feeling. I immediately called my partner and then I called my best friend and then I called my mom. In that order, it was very very quick," said Merchant.

Supporters of gay marriage like Judie McMath understand that equal treatment is getting closer.

"We feel that it's a step forward for all citizens of Oklahoma, even those who are not gay because all people deserve equal treatment and equal rights so it's a step forward for our state," McMath said.

Some, like Comanche County Democrat Charles Kolker just don't understand why equality and gay marriage is such a big deal and controversy.

"People shouldn't, in my mind, get disturbed that gays would have the right to marry. Nobody is saying that you have to convert to a gay if you're straight," said Kolker.

Supporters believe everyone has the right to respect, that goes beyond gay marriage to basic equal rights.

"There may be people that disagree with gay marriage and they have the right to disagree but that doesn't give them the right to deny everyone the same right's they have," said McMath.

"You will take our money, you will take our taxes and then you force our children to say mommy's roommate or you force us hide behind something as beautiful as this," said Merchant.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA last summer, since then marriage equality has occurred in sixteen states where they have legalized same-sex marriage.