Supreme Court asked to hear Oklahoma same-sex marriage case

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A case challenging Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage reached the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, marking the second marriage-equality case to be petitioned to the nation’s highest court in as many days.

Lawyers for Sally Howe Smith, a court clerk in Tulsa County, filed the petition for a writ of certiorari calling on the Supreme Court to hear arguments in the case and resolve the question it raises: “Whether the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution forbid the State of Oklahoma from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

The motion comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last month to uphold a lower court’s January ruling finding Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The case was first filed by two same-sex couples in November 2004 after 75 percent of Oklahoma voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

According to the filing, people in various states are engaged “in an earnest public debate about the meaning, purpose, and future of marriage.”

“The Tenth Circuit’s decision in this case, if allowed to stand, would end this robust political debate,” the filing continues.

The appeal of the Oklahoma case comes a day after Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) formally appealed a case challenging that state’s same-sex marriage ban to the Supreme Court. On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) is expected to formally ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court ruling declaring the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional as well.

And more federal appeals court rulings are expected to reach the Supreme Court in coming months. Earlier Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard oral arguments in six cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to consider the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s and Indiana’s respective same-sex marriage bans on Aug. 26, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider Idaho’s and Nevada’s bans on Sept. 8. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet set a date for considering a case challenging Texas law prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Petition

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's political editor and White House correspondent. He can be reached at jsnow@metroweekly.com.

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