Court rules for gay marriage in Oklahoma case
DENVER (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled for the second time that states cannot prevent gay people from getting married.
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday has found a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma violates the U.S. Constitution. In a Utah case, the court ruled June 25 that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed.
Lower courts struck down Utah and Oklahoma's voter-approved bans in December and January, respectively.
The rulings are the first at the appellate level since the U.S. Supreme Court changed the legal landscape by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013. They are likely to be appealed to the high court.
Gay marriage in both states is on hold until appeals are resolved.
Oklahoma couple praises same-sex marriage ruling
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma couple that challenged a state ban on same-sex marriage is praising a federal court ruling striking down the ban.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver handed down the decision Friday in favor of Tulsans Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin.
The two expressed gratitude for the ruling that they say affirms that all people are equal under the law. A statement from the couple says the court understands what more people across the country are beginning to realize - that gay and lesbian people are citizens who should enjoy the same rights as straight people under the law.
They say they look forward to seeing Oklahoma gay and lesbian couples who love each other and want their relationships recognized by the government take part in those rights.
Oklahoma governor decries same-sex marriage ruling
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage is an example of federal courts trampling on the rights of states to govern themselves.
Fallin issued a statement Friday after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver struck down Oklahoma's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Fallin says she voted for the amendment that was approved by 76 percent of Oklahoma voters in 2004. Now, she says, two federal judges have acted to overturn a law supported by most Oklahomans.
Fallin says she hopes the decision is eventually overturned. She says she will continue to fight the federal government when it seeks to ignore or change laws written and supported by Oklahomans.
Attorney bemoans Oklahoma gay marriage decision
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An attorney for Tulsa County's clerk says he disagrees with a federal appeals court that struck down Oklahoma's ban against same-sex marriage.
Byron Babione (BA'-bee-on) with the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom said Friday that the people of Oklahoma confirmed their belief that every child deserves a mom and a dad when they approved a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as a man-woman union.
The organization represents Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued when she refused to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Babione says he's consulting with Smith and considering whether to appeal Friday's decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Babione says whether citizens are free to affirm marriage as a man-woman union will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oklahoma firefighters helping in western wildfires
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Firefighters from Oklahoma are heading west to help battle wildfires.
Oklahoma Forestry Services has begun receiving orders to send help and five OFS firefighters have been sent to help fight fires in Oregon. Officials say additional orders from the National Interagency Coordination Center for more firefighters and equipment are expected.
OFS assistant director and Fire Management Chief Mark Goeller says recent rain across Oklahoma have reduced the fire danger and allows the agency to provide help in other states.
CAPITOL REPAIR COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENTS
3 named to Oklahoma Capitol repair committee
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed three people to a committee that will oversee spending on repairs to Oklahoma's nearly century-old state Capitol.
Fallin said Friday she had named David Thompson, Phil Kennedy and Steve Mason to the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee. They will join a group of state lawmakers named by House Speaker Jeff Hickman and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman.
Thompson, of Edmond, will serve as chairman. He's the president and chief executive officer of InvesTrust, a financial planning company. Kennedy, of Lawton, is the owner and chief executive officer of Comanche Home Center, a retail building material supplier. Mason, of Oklahoma City, is president of Bluebird Consulting, an engineering firm.
Legislation signed by Fallin authorized a $120 million bond issue for Capitol repairs.
HOBBY LOBBY-BIBLE MUSEUM
Hobby Lobby president shares plan for Bible museum
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - The president of Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby says a Bible museum to hold his family's collection in Washington, D.C. is expected to open in 2017.
The Times Record reports Steve Green spoke to some 600 attendants of the Fort Smith Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Friday. The Christian Business Men's Committee invited him to speak at the event more than a year ago.
Green says the museum will display his family's extensive collection of biblical artifacts. The collection is one of the world's largest private collections of biblical antiquities.
More than 100 items from the collection were on display at the Vatican during Lent two years ago.
The Bible museum will be located two blocks from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
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