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Supreme Court decision bolsters challenge to Oklahoma gay marriage ban, couple argues in state case

The U.S. Supreme Court's move to strike down federal law has ignited a flurry of activity in the long-dormant state challenge to Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage.
by Chris Casteel Modified: July 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm •  Published: July 31, 2013

The U.S. Justice Department stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court but wants to file a response to Holladay's motion. Kern has given the department until Aug. 23 to do so. A group of House Republicans, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, has been defending the law and is involved in the Oklahoma case.

Holladay also argues in the brief filed Monday that the Supreme Court's reasoning on the federal law should also guide Kern's decision on the state ban, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004.

“Only a constitutional removal of Oklahoma's marriage ban ... will provide same-sex couples in Oklahoma all the federal benefits and responsibilities that are available now in 13 states and the District of Columbia,” the brief says.

The Tulsa County clerk's office is defending the state law, since a federal appeals court ruled that the Oklahoma governor and attorney general had no authority to enforce the ban on gay marriage. The clerk's office is being represented by a Christian legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month sidestepped the question of whether states could ban gay marriage, though that question is expected to make it back to the justices through one of the cases filed in lower courts.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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