Broken Arrow lesbian couple see hope in Massachusetts marriage ruling

A Broken Arrow lesbian couple says they are thrilled with a Massachusetts judge's ruling that the federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.
BY JOHN A. WILLIAMS Published: July 21, 2010
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— A Broken Arrow couple says they are encouraged by a Massachusetts judge's ruling that the federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop have been together for nearly 14 years. In 2000, they took part in a commitment ceremony.

Baldwin and Bishop, along with Tulsans Susan Barton and Gay Phillips, filed a federal lawsuit in November 2004 challenging the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act and the Oklahoma ban on gay marriage.

"We have hope that judges all across the country who have same-sex cases before them will take courage from this ruling to do what's right," Baldwin said.

On July 8, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled that a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause and interfered with a state's right to define marriage.

Although the ruling is not binding on other federal courts, it could serve as a precedent in the lawsuit filed in Tulsa federal court by the four women, Baldwin said.

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