July 18, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma joins numerous Oklahomans and their families in celebrating the latest victory for marriage equality in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Bishop v. Smith, affirmed an Oklahoma Federal District Court’s order striking down Oklahoma’s ban on same sex marriages. The ACLU of Oklahoma, along with several other civil liberties and LGBT advocacy organizations, filed a friend of the court brief in the case urging today’s historic decision.

“Today marks an historic moment in the progress of equality for Oklahomans and Americans. We celebrate this unequivocal strike against a system of irrational discrimination that has for too long stood in the way of the rights of loving and committed couples and their families,” said Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. Kiesel continued, “In the nearly ten years since this case was first filed, these plaintiffs have stood on the front lines in the fight to secure true equality for Oklahomans; today their case stands to be a landmark that will be heralded for generations. We cannot begin to adequately thank them for the freedoms won by their courage and perseverance.”

The 10th Circuit already ruled Utah’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional last month, joining an unbroken string of federal courts in striking down state marriage discrimination against LGBT couples and families. Following the historic US Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. United States striking down the federal ban on same sex marriage, there have been 26 consecutive court rulings in favor of marriage equality.

“Today’s decision is a victory not just for gay and lesbian Oklahomans, but for all people who value liberty, equality, and justice,” said Brady Henderson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “Today’s ruling brings us a big step closer to marriage equality and confirms that the United States Constitution protects freedom to marry for all Americans. That protection ensures the decision of whom to love remains our own, not our government’s.”

Today’s decision is stayed temporarily so that the State of Oklahoma may appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court for consideration. Should the state appeal, it will place a hold on same sex marriages in Oklahoma until the Supreme Court takes action.

The ACLU brought its first LGBT rights case in 1936 and continues to serve as one of the nation’s leading LGBT rights organizations, including its leading role in the landmark case Windsor v. United States.