Same-Sex Tulsa Couple Sign Marriage License
The two women said they are stunned and joyous that the Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from five states seeking to continue the ban on gay and lesbian marriages.
The Supreme Court decision cleared the way when justices decided against hearing a case on Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage. It had already been ruled unconstitutional, but the decision on Monday finalized the change.
10/6/2014 Related Story: Supreme Court Turns Away Same-Sex Marriage Cases
With their court fight, Bishop and Baldwin paved the way for Oklahoma's same-sex couples to get married; and ten years after the couple filed the lawsuit, they signed their marriage license at the Tulsa Courthouse and married at 5 p.m.
The decision wasn't unexpected - it's gone the same way in 2 dozen other states - but the timing was a surprise. The Supreme Court announced they wouldn't hear the case Monday morning - the federal district court lifted the stay about 11:30.
"And that's what we're asking, there should not be any further delay, let marriage equality start today, in Oklahoma," said Toby Jenkins, Tulsa Equality Center.
Gay rights advocates believe hundreds of couples will marry soon and a second couple got a license within minutes of the first.
Josh McCormick and Bill Owens said they tried to get married in Colorado.
“Just before we got there, their attorney general stopped allowing licenses, so once it's legal in Oklahoma, we said we wanted to waste no time and get it done before something else happens,” McCormick said.
Tulsa's Equality Center helped support the legal cause, and leaders there are disappointed the decision does not set a national standard for gay marriage.
It only invalidates the voter approved ban on gay marriage in Oklahoma and states in the 10th circuit court.
Attorney Mike Redman said, "I understand that people have sincere beliefs in this regard, but a persons' individual belief cannot trump a fundamental constitutional right and that's what the 10th circuit said."
The court clerk's office changed the forms to no longer require a name of bride and groom, just two names, so now they're simply listed as applicant.
The lawyers who represented the Tulsa County court clerk said the Supreme Court's decision not to take up the issue means the battle will continue.
The group, Alliance Defending Freedom, said several federal courts still have cases working their way to the Supreme Court. It also said people should decide this issue, not courts.
Oklahoma's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt agreed. He said the Supreme Court recognized that marriage is a state institution in a 2013 ruling and said states should determine what constitutes the definition of marriage.
Pruitt said that makes Monday's decision not to take up the cases even more troubling to him.
It's been ten years since Oklahomans voted to ban same sex marriage here, but we know opinions can change with time, so we polled hundreds of respondents at the end of August to find out what they thought the Supreme Court should do.
According to the results, 57 percent said the court should uphold Oklahoma's ban on same sex marriage, 32 percent said the justices should decide the ban is unconstitutional and about 11 percent didn't have an opinion.
The poll has about a four percent margin of error.