Federal judge rules Oklahoma gay marriage ban unconstitutional
A US federal judge has struck down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it was unconstitutional, a month after a similar move in Utah.
The ruling in the long-running case also followed a landmark Supreme Court decision in June finding that couples in same-sex marriages were entitled to the same benefits and protections as heterosexuals.
"The court holds that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution," US District Judge Terence Kern wrote in his opinion.
A month ago, a federal judge in Utah overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage, a decision that saw hundreds of gay couples get married.
But the US Supreme Court later temporarily blocked the weddings after the state filed an emergency request to stay the judge's ruling, though the federal government has said it would give full backing to about 1,300 gay marriages that took place between the two rulings.
Last month, the New Mexico state Supreme Court also declared same-sex marriage constitutional.
Kern said his ruling would not go into effect immediately, saying he would wait for the Utah case to go through the appeals process.
So Oklahoma will not see same-sex marriages until Kern's decision goes into effect. And the state is likely to appeal, adding uncertainty for gay couples.