BREAKING: U.S. District Court Rules Oklahoma Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Today, Tuesday January 14th, U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  Plaintiff couples Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton, filed their case in November 2004. That’s a friggin’ long time to wait — that’s a decade! That’s one entire decade which I’m sure is normal, legal-system-wise but I can’t get past the fact that these couples spent a decade trying to get done what one drunk straight couple can do in an hour in Vegas.


From Judge Kern’s 68-page ruling:

“Applying deferential rationality review, the Court searched for a rational link between exclusion of this class from civil marriage and promotion of a legitimate governmental objective. Finding none, the Court’s rationality review reveals Part A as an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.”

You can see the entirety of those 68 pages right here:

Bishop v. USA by Chris Geidner

But Oklahomos cannot taste the Bishop v. Oklahoma spoils just yet, as it’s stayed pending the state’s expected appeal (of course).

It’s also worth mentioning that any appeals from Oklahoma will be heard by 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the court hearing the Utah case. Depending on your degree of optimism, you can echo Garden State Equality‘s sentiment of “this is how we win” or you can be the bag of political fretting that I am and get nervous any time the rights of a minority are on trial at a precedent setting level.

Regardless, congrats Oklahomos! Happy theoretical weddings to all who want to have them!

feature image via Salon, and it’s definitely from California but I wanted to get this breaking news story to y’all’s eyeballs before it became old news. Still, it’s quite pretty, don’t you think? Thank you, Salon!

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. Marriage everywhere is huge, but I just wish it could be passed on the national level as to not waste time at each state level.

  2. Oh man, #literacyfail. I kept interpreting these titles as another step in the back-and-forth fight for marriage rights in Utah.

    Surprising that the states of late are the last ones I anticipated being “next”, but damn, if it’s taken 10 years, then I’m glad it finally got here. How does a case take an entire decade??

  3. I started crying when I got the text. I literally cannot believe this just happened. I’m currently geeking out over the ruling and quoting a few select gems on Facebook and Tumblr.

  4. “or you can be the bag of political fretting that I am and get nervous any time the rights of a minority are on trial at a precedent setting level.”

    Yup. Beer has been opened. Don’t even care that I’m at work.

  5. Oh for goodness sake, Oregon, at this rate Texas will have gay marriage before you do! And imagine – IMAGINE the shame of the east coast becoming a border-to-border homozone before the west. I would just die.

    • It’s on the next ballot, right? I just moved but I’m keeping my voter registration filed in Oregon until the 2014 elections are done. Hopefully we won’t fuck this one up like the last time it was voted on.

    • Right? How is this not already what we call all our peeps in Oklahoma? Or is it and I’m just in the dark?

  6. You guys I literally never thought this would happen here!! I’m just sitting here having a little party by myself in the middle of the week. And listening to She Keeps Me Warm on repeat. And trying not to cry from happiness.

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