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Oklahoma officials to appeal same-sex marriage ruling

The Tulsa County Clerk's Office filed a notice of appeal on Thursday with the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] to overturn a district court ruling striking down Oklahoma's constitutional amendment [text] banning same-sex marriage. The district court judge ruled [JURIST report] on Tuesday that Part A of the amendment violates [Tulsa World report] the Equal Protections Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In his opinion, Judge Terence Kern wrote [text, PDF] that Part A was an, "arbitrary and irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit." Kern issued a permanent injunction against the amendment, but stayed its execution until final resolution of the appeal to the Tenth Circuit. The original lawsuit challenging [JURIST report] the ban was filed by two lesbian couples in 2004.

Challenges to state laws and constitutional amendments has become increasingly common in recent years, and it has been a successful avenue for many to affect change in their state's marriage laws. On January 7 four Arizona same-sex couples filed [JURIST report] a federal class-action lawsuit challenging their state's marriage ban with the US District Court for the District of Arizona. In December a federal District Court judge struck down [JURIST report] a ruling striking down Utah's statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. In October two Oregon couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging their state's ban, following a similar filing [JURIST reports] by an advocacy group in West Virginia on behalf of three same-sex couples there.

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