A federal appeals court officially declared Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Friday but temporarily delayed the ruling to allow time for a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 2-1 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the court’s ruling last month in a similar case from Utah, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in all six states that are part of the circuit: Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico.
Here's what local religious leaders had to say about the ruling.
The Rev. Nick Garland, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow and president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma: “This ruling, which was stayed and has no immediate effect, still represents a disturbing move away from God’s plan of marriage for men and women. We are prayerful this will not stand, but we will work to promote and uphold the true meaning of marriage no matter what court rulings happen.”
The Rev. Justin Lindstrom, dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral: “The ruling today is just wonderful news for me and I think the people of St. Paul’s will feel that way as well. It’s an issue of civil rights and allowing all people access to the benefits of marriage.”
The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City: “Today’s ruling is not at all surprising — but it is still highly disappointing. As I have said in the past, only the union between a man and a woman brings forth children. Furthermore, every child has a father and a mother and deserves to know and relate to them whenever possible. Marriage — properly understood —facilitates this. We continue to pray that our society at large will recover this original understanding of marriage — and, in a particular way, we pray for the nine Supreme Court justices, who will presumably eventually decide the legal definition of marriage in the United States. It is our hope that, when the time comes, they will be prepared to affirm the sacred and inalterable truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
The Rev. Timothy Blodgett, senior pastor of Connecting Point Presbyterian Church: “I thought it was fantastic news. It’s an instance where the Oklahoma legal system and American legal system are beginning to catch up with God’s love and grace. It’s a step in the right direction.”
The Rev. Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma: “This court ruling flies in the face of the will of the people of this state, who overwhelmingly supported marriage as between one man and one woman. At the same time, no votes of the public, opinion polls or even higher court rulings can change the biblical definition of marriage, which was set by God from the very beginning.”