Federal lawsuit filed to overturn Oklahoma's newest constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages

Thursday, November 4th 2004, 6:04 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is only a couple of days old and the amendment is already being challenged.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure on Tuesday. Now, four women have filed a federal lawsuit in Tulsa trying to do away with the measure.

6 in the morning reporter Omar Villafranca says it was a controversial issue before it passed and now that its law, it's still raising eyebrows.

The four women who filed the suit claim the state's same-sex marriage ban violates their civil rights. The lawsuit says Broken Arrow residents Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin have been living in a committed relationship for eight years. Tulsans Susan Barton and Gay Phillips entered into a civil union in Vermont three years ago.

The women say the law doesn't treat them the same as other Americans. They want the gay marriage ban overturned. And they're challenging the legality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to ignore same-sex marriages from other states.

State Senator James Williamson of Tulsa was the principal author of the state question. He told the News on 6 earlier this year the bill is not anti-gay rights. "I'm not out to bash the homosexual community. I'm just saying that we need to make it clear in Oklahoma that we believe marriage is exactly what it has been and always should be the union between one man and woman."

Williamson says he's not surprised the measure is being challenged, but is confident the amendment will survive in court.