10th Circuit Court of Appeals agrees that Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

DENVER - Federal judges on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver have upheld a lower court's decision declaring Oklahoma's ban on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples unconstitutional. This is the same court that recently ruled Utah's ban was also unconstitutional.

In the Oklahoma case, the Tulsa County Clerk appealed a lower court's ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal was filed quickly on the heels of Utah's appeal to the same court and, in their written decision, the justices explain both appeals were assigned to the same panel.

Although they affirmed the lower court's decision "declaring unenforceable the Oklahoma state constitutional prohibition on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples," the court put a stay on their decision. Just like they did in the Utah case, they are awaiting a petition for writ of certiorari -- a request for a review of the case by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Like Utah and Oklahoma, Colorado's constitutional ban on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is the subject of legal controversy. Three county clerks in Colorado are issuing the licenses, despite ongoing legal challenges from the state.

Boulder's clerk began to issue the licenses after the decision about Utah's ban, arguing the ruling would also apply to Colorado because the same court has jurisdiction here. Afterward, an Adams County judge declared Colorado's ban was unconstitutional and said civil unions were a discriminatory alternative.

Then, after Boulder County's clerk won a case in local district court against Colorado's Attorney General, Denver's clerk began to issue the licenses to same-sex couples. Clerk Deborah Johnson announced Friday morning her office had issued 100 of the licenses.

Pueblo County's clerk also decided to issue the licenses following the district court decision in Boulder.

The latest legal challenge relating to Colorado's ban is currently being considered in U.S. District Court, which is a court one step down from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this week, Judge Raymond P. Moore asked the Attorney General and Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder to submit their written arguments by Friday. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday and the judge indicated he may have a decision by July 25.

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