Gay Marriage Ruling Hits Close To Home

Saturday, May 17th 2008, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

A historic decision in California has hit home in Green Country. On Thursday, the country's most populous state said that same-sex marriages are legal.

Ten states now recognize gay marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. And many same-sex couples in Oklahoma hope the law will change here too.

The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports the California Supreme Court's ruling that banning gay marriage is an unconstitutional act has re-ignited a political bombshell.

In Oklahoma, the news has sparked emotions ranging from outrage to joy and some gay couples say even though this state doesn't recognize same-sex unions they have high hopes for the future.

While making a cup of coffee, Jake and Luke look like an ordinary couple. They say that's exactly the point.

"We're just part of society, we pay our taxes, we want clean communities, we want streets without potholes," said Jake.

The two have been together for seven years. They went to San Francisco four years ago when the city legalized same-sex marriages.

"We drove from L.A. to San Francisco non-stop. On no sleep," said Jake.

The California State Supreme Court later invalidated the marriage. Now, the same court has ruled that gay marriages are fully legal.

"It was quite a feeling of euphoria, knowing that slowly but surely, progress is being made," said Jake.

They say they'll be going back this summer to get married again, but the marriage means nothing here.

"We never had the expectation that it would be valid in Oklahoma," said Luke.

Oklahoma is one of 27 states that have constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage. At only 90 words, Oklahoma's ban is crystal clear. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman and says same sex marriages from other states will not be recognized as valid and binding.

But Luke says the tide is turning.

"The ones that have gone to Massachusetts, gone to California, gone to Canada, will push for the state of Oklahoma to recognize it. It's a contract," said Luke.

"Couples move here from Missouri or Texas, they never have to re-marry, their contract is recognized. Drivers license, credit cards, everything's recognized from other states. Why not this?" said Jake.

Luke says it's important for them to get married.

"Just to have that piece of paper saying, look, you're wed, somebody actually approves of your lifestyle, somebody understands, somebody cares," said Luke.

And they say this is an issue that's not going away.

"It'll come up again and again and again until something happens. It's just a matter of time. I've got time to wait," said Luke.

And he says even he has to wait his whole life; at least he can wait with the man he loves.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on gay marriage, but many legal experts say because so many states have so many different laws on the issue the high court may soon address the constitutional crisis.

The issue isn't over in California. A referendum to add an amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman will likely be put before California voters on the November ballot.