Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Judge Kern is a judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. His was a ruling on the Bishop v. Oklahoma case, in which two lesbian couples filed a challenge to an amendment to the State Constitution that defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
He ruled that homosexual couples are guaranteed equality by the United States Constitution.
In response to Judge Kern’s ruling, Governor Mary Fallin voiced her disappointment with it:
“…the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That amendment passed with 75% support. The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma’s voters to govern themselves…I am…troubled that the will of the people has once against been ignored by the federal government.”
The fact that 75% of the people of Oklahoma supported this amendment to the State Constitution (this happened in 2004 by the way) tell me that only 25% of the people of Oklahoma actually understand the Constitution.
U.S. Representative James Lankford also chimed in on the ruling saying that
“…the Constitution leaves marriage laws to the states, the State of Oklahoma has the right to define marriage in a way consistent with the values of our state…the people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue and the decision remains clearly within their constitutional bounds…”
Rep. Lankford’s statement again affirm that the people of Oklahoma by voting for a ban on same-sex marriage that they do not understand the Constitution. Furthermore, it shows me that it is clear neither does Congressman Lankford.
Here is the text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
“…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall ANY State deprive ANY person of life, liberty, or property…nor denty ANY person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…”
So, unless the people of Oklahoma are planning on defining individuals with a same-sex orientation as not being citizens or not being people, they are out of luck and they screwed up. You cannot pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you follow and which parts you do not have to follow.
The people of Oklahoma are all for gun rights and speak out for their Second Amendment rights but when it comes to the First Amendment, as another example, they are not so vocal. They are okay with speaking out for their own religious liberty except when it comes to somebody that practices a religion other than Christianity.
The people of Oklahoma are up in arms over their Fourth Amendment rights when it comes to the NSA spying on them, and believe me, I am one of those people, but when it comes to equality of people, regardless of their sexual orientation, they claim the Tenth Amendment protects them from the intervention of the federal government when, in fact, this issue clearly falls under the Fourteenth Amendment.
As I said, you can not pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you want to follow.
Andrew Griffin of Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Report had this to say about the ruling:
“While many people celebrate the judge’s ruling, saying same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the latter-day George Wallace’s in this state are screaming “state’s rights,” code for “we hate gays.” But the enlightened people of this fair state know that those voices of hate are on the wrong side of history. For shame!”
And liberty activist Craig Dawkins said that:
“Today’s ruling affirms my conviction that people should not be discriminated against or denied civil rights afforded to everyone, based on their sexual orientation. The bottom line is that Oklahoma Republican political leaders, who claim to want limited government, should hang their heads in shame for continuing to use the power of government to regulate who adults can love and marry.”
Another citizen of Oklahoma said the following in a comment to an article on the News 9 website:
“Why is it, that when people want to make changes to gun laws, they throw the Constitution around, but when we want to change something that is unconstitutional, they seem to ignore the Constitution? We have a Constitution for us, for things like this….Times change folks. It’s time we stop living in some sort of delusional past….” — Gabe Payne
The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution is there for a reason. It is exactly for situations such as this. For that reason, this amendment to the State Constitution, whether it was voted upon by the people of Oklahoma or not, is clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
This is certainly a huge loss for the social conservatives in the Oklahoma GOP and a huge win for the liberty movement. However, this should be a wake up call for both sides of the issue to agree on the idea that the government should not be involved in the marriage business at all. Or as Oklahoman John Greening puts it:
“Government should have no place at the matrimonial altar to begin with.”
This ruling, of course is almost certain to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit next.