published Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Oklahoma gay marriage case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court





Peggy Tomsic, attorney for, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, from left, Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, five of the six people who brought the lawsuit against the Utah's gay marriage ban, speaks during a news conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in this June 25, 2014, file photo.
Peggy Tomsic, attorney for, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, from left, Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, five of the six people who brought the lawsuit against the Utah's gay marriage ban, speaks during a news conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in this June 25, 2014, file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Supporters of Utah's same-sex marriage ban gather at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City, to stand up for "traditional marriage" a day after a federal appeals court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the law in this April 11, 2014, file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TULSA, Okla. — Voters should decide how to define marriage, not federal judges, said attorneys who filed an appeal Wednesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

The 47-page appeal was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the couple last month, upholding a federal judge's ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. However, those rulings were put on hold as the case makes its way through the courts, meaning same-sex couples haven't been allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

The ban was approved by more than 75 percent of voters in 2004.

The couple who sued, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop, challenged the ban shortly after the law was approved. After an appeals court ruled in 2009 that the couple lacked standing, they filed an amended complaint listing Smith as the defendant, since her office issues marriage licenses.

"The 10th Circuit ... negated the exercise of this fundamental right (of voting) by more than 1 million Oklahomans and millions of voters in other states," Wednesday's filing states. "Invalidating the people's voice on an issue as profound as the definition of marriage presents an important question that warrants this court's review."

On Tuesday, Utah officials filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to uphold that state's gay marriage ban.

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