Americans for Marriage Equality

State ResourcesOklahoma

Status: Constitutional ban on marriage equality declared unconstitutional by federal court – stayed pending appeal.

In Bishop v. United States, two same-sex couples filed suit in federal court challenging Oklahoma’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. On January 14, a trial judge ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs, declaring the ban unconstitutional. The state has appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has consolidated the appeal with that of the case challenging Utah’s marriage ban, Kitchen v. Herbert. Oral arguments in this case were held April 17, 2014.  On June 25th, the Tenth Circuit issued a ruling that affirmed the lower court decision to strike down Utah's ban on marrige equality.  The 2-1 decision was authored by Judge Carlos Lucero, who was joined by Judge Jerome Holmes – a President George W. Bush appointee.

The state of Oklahoma now has the option to request an en banc appeal before the full bench of the Tenth Circuit, which decides whether or not to grant that request. It may also bypass an en banc session and appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.