Same-Sex Tulsa Couples Confident For Next Round Of Court Hearings

Monday, March 17th 2014, 5:50 pm
By: News On 6

The two Tulsa couples suing to stop the state's ban on same sex marriage say they're confident as they prepare for the next round of court hearings.

A federal judge ruled in January the state's ban is unconstitutional, but that ruling is on hold while the case is being appealed, as those against same-sex marriage are not giving up.

Monday was the last day to file what's called an amicus brief in the lawsuit. That's legalese for an opinion filed by someone not associated with the case. The two couples behind the lawsuit suing say they've received tons of support and they're ready for the case to go to the appeals court.

1/14/2014 Related Story: Federal Judge In Tulsa Rules Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

The four women trying to reverse Oklahoma's same sex marriage ban sat together and listened to speaker after speaker Monday afternoon.

"Like the Civil Rights movement of the last century, marriage equality needs the voice of the church because this is a justice issue," said Kelli Driscoll with Bethany Christian Church.

The guest list included church leaders and social service agencies. Each has put their name to an amicus brief, or friend of the court, as a show of support to make same sex marriage legal in Oklahoma.

Plaintiff, Sharon Baldwin, said, "We're excited, confident. We feel the momentum.

Baldwin and her partner of 17 years, Mary Bishop, have been fighting for the right to be legally married for a decade.

"We're not redefining marriage, we're just wanting to join in something that is already in existence," Bishop said.

Their supporters included Jim Walker with Youth Services of Tulsa.

"The stability of family is key to the success of young people succeeding at their full potential," Walker said.

"In my understanding of what God's will is in the world, is that we live in good healthy relationships, and if it happens to be between two people of the same gender then that's okay," Driscoll said.

The case is also seeing friend of the court briefs filed by those who want to keep the same sex marriage ban. One group of religious organizations wrote to the court, "husband-wife marriage complements our human nature as male and female, promotes responsible procreation, and provides the best environment for children."

Bishop and Baldwin say they're ready for the next step and are prepared to go even further.

"We know we're going to prevail at Denver and we believe that this case will go to the Supreme Court and we believe that as a result marriage equality will be the law of the land," said Bishop.

Oral arguments in the case go before a Denver appeals court in mid-April.