Same-sex couple divorced in Oklahoma — for a day

Don Andrews, an Oklahoma County special judge signed a same-sex couple’s divorce decree one day, and then vacated the decree the next day “upon further review of the laws of the state of Oklahoma.”
by Nolan Clay Modified: September 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: September 1, 2014
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A same-sex marriage that began two years ago in Iowa ended in divorce court in Oklahoma in August — for a day.

Oklahoma County Special Judge Don Andrews signed the divorce papers Aug. 18, officially ending the lesbian couple’s troubled marriage.

The next day, the judge vacated the divorce decree “upon further review of the laws of the state of Oklahoma.” In his order, he pointed to a law on the books since 1997 that prohibits Oklahoma from recognizing another state’s same-sex marriage as valid and binding.

Deanne R. Baker filed for divorce from Julie L. Baker on July 30, less than two weeks after a federal appeals court agreed Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The Baker divorce case is an example of the confusion felt by many about the status of same-sex couples in current law.

Deanne Baker, 45, was happy to be divorced. On Facebook Aug. 18, she thanked “the people who supported the recognition of equality here in the State of Oklahoma!”

She was not aware the divorce decree had been vacated until The Oklahoman contacted her Friday.

“That is not cool,” the Tinker Air Force Base worker said.

“I spent $400 when it was all said and done. So, if I’m not divorced, I want a refund on my money,” she said.

She explained she thought she might be able to get a divorce because of the July 18 decision at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of same-sex marriage. She did not use an attorney.

Actually, no same-sex marriages are taking place in Oklahoma’s civil courts while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether it will take up the issue.

“I really think Oklahoma needs to, like, keep God and state separate,” she said. “It’s a civil contract. If people get married in another state and they’re straight, and they move to a different state, they can get divorced in that state. So why are you making it hard on us? It’s not right. We wanted equality.”

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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Did you know?

Judge campaigns for position

Oklahoma County Special Judge Don Andrews now holds an appointed position, voted on by the district judges.

Andrews, of Oklahoma City, is campaigning to become an Oklahoma County district judge. His opponent is Jarrod Heath Stevenson of Edmond. Voters decide in November.

Andrews has raised more than $104,000 for his campaign, his latest contributions report shows. Stevenson has raised more than $18,000.

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