Oklahoma

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; a federal judge has ruled that the amendment is unconstitutional, and that decision has been upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals,with the ruling stayed and seeking review from the U.S. Supreme Court.

WHAT'S HAPPENING: 

On September 29, 2014, the United States Supreme Court will have its first chance to consider hearing this federal marriage case seeking the freedom to marry in Oklahoma. The state of Oklahoma has filed petition seeking Supreme Court review of a July 18 ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the freedom to marry, which upheld a lower court ruling that declared it unconstitutional for Oklahoma to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

On January 14, 2014, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled that laws in Oklahoma prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional. The federal judge also issued a stay on the ruling pending appeal, so same-sex couples were not immediately allowed to receive marriage licenses.

The ruling was in Bishop v. United States, filed by private lawyers on behalf of two same-sex couples - one seeking the freedom to marry and another seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage. Read more about marriage litigation in Oklahoma

As the case makes its way up through the courts, Oklahomans across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for victory.

HISTORY:

In 2004, anti-gay forces in Oklahoma pushed through State Question 711, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status. 

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Freedom Oklahoma is the grassroots public education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Oklahoma. 
  • The Equality Network is organization based in Oklahoma that lobbies for pro-equality legislation and public policies in the Sooner State. 
  • Oklahomans for Equality is an organization seeking equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families through advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 6,134 same-sex couples are living in Oklahoma, representing 4.2 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to Oklahoma

Marriage cases will be considered at first SCOTUS conference on 9/29

Today, September 10, 7 different petitions seeking certiorari in marriage cases from 5 states were distributed for the September 29 conference at the United States Supreme Court.

Freedom to Marry staffers share their own marriage stories from this year

This month, one of our staffers in New York got married, and another team member in Oklahoma got engaged. Here's a look at 5 Freedom to Marry team members celebrating their own personal marriage moments this year:

States, businesses, families agree in new briefs: SCOTUS should rule on marriage

The briefs lay out the urgency of bringing an end to the tangible harms and national disparities in how same-sex couples and their families are treated and encourage the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution without delay.

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Resources Related to Oklahoma

The Pathway Forward

Momentum for the freedom to marry continues to build. And it’s clear from the past few weeks the path ahead is dynamic and full of flashpoints, including in some of the more conservative parts of the country. This memo looks at what the recent Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah court victories—and others potentially soon to come—mean in the context of our overall strategy to win the freedom to marry nationwide.

Oklahoma Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Oklahoma.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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