Federal appeals court strikes down Oklahoma gay marriage ban

A federal appellate court upheld a lower ruling striking down Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban on Friday.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled much in the same way back in June when Utah appealed a federal judge's decision to strike down their gay marriage ban.

The appellate court ruled on Friday that Oklahoma's ban is unconstitutional, USA Today reports. "Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage sweeps too broadly in that it denies a fundamental right to all same-sex couples who seek to marry or to have their marriages recognized regardless of their child-rearing ambitions," Judge Carlos Lucero wrote.

Much like in Utah, the ruling won't take effect immediately as the court stayed their ruling to allow the state to either appeal to a full court or take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, much like Utah has decided to do.

For the first time, the court's decision wasn't unanimous, with Judge Paul Kelly dissenting over the view that the state should have the right to decide on the definition of marriage. Reuters notes that the ban was approved in 2004 by 76 percent of voters in the state.

Gov. Mary Fallin decried the ruling and noted the state will appeal. "Today's ruling is another instance of federal courts ignoring the will of the people and trampling on the right of states to govern themselves."

The lawsuit against the ban came the same year it was approved by two lesbian couples who say they have been harmed by it.

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