Marriage Equality Supporters See Tulsa Couple Off As Hearing Nears


Wednesday, April 16th 2014, 7:15 pm
By: News On 6


In the days ahead, the fight to reverse Oklahoma's ban on same sex marriage will be heard at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. On Wednesday afternoon, supporters of the lesbian couple who brought the lawsuit gathered at the airport to see them off.

It was all smiles at the security checkpoint as two couples got ready to board a plane to Denver.

3/13/2014 Related Story: Two Couples In Oklahoma Same-Sex Marriage Ban Lawsuit To Be Honored

Those opposing the ban on gay marriage believe they have the momentum to win, but supporters of the ban say most Oklahomans haven't changed their minds.

Holding signs, each other, and boarding passes, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop were ready to take their argument to Denver. They are suing for the right to marry.

"The opponents of marriage equality have no argument that stands up in court," Bishop said.

The defendant's attorney disagrees. A spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom said, "We think that the voice of Oklahomans should be respected, and lawsuits like these attempt to silence important public debate."

The debate over legalizing gay marriage in Oklahoma was put to a vote a decade ago. Oklahomans overwhelmingly said no.

"For starters, we would say that data is ten years old. A lot has changed in ten years. Ten years ago, when we filed this lawsuit, only one state approved of same sex marriage," Baldwin said.

But James Williamson, who authored the bill, points out Oklahomans haven't abandoned conservative values.

"Many people are disappointed that states don't have the right to decide such basic issues, like who should be allowed to marry," Williamson said.

Baldwin said, "I hate to tell Oklahoma their vote doesn't matter, but when it comes to our civil rights, it doesn't. I don't get to vote on your civil rights issue, you shouldn't vote on mine."

Gay Phillips and Sue Barton, who have been together for 29 years, were married in both Canada and in California. They are headed to Denver for Thursday's hearing too.

But Bishop and Baldwin said they will marry when it is legal in the Sooner state.

The hearing will be held Thursday, but no word on when circuit court judges will issue a ruling. It is very likely the Supreme Court will end up making the final decision.