Both sides dig in on Oklahoma gay marriage fight following judge's ruling against state's ban

TULSA - A federal judge's decision on Tuesday declaring Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional ignited a firestorm of debate, with both supporters and opponents of same sex marriage vowing not to back down.

"It's a terrible day for Oklahoma that that has happened," said Jim Standridge, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook.

Standridge, a vocal opponent of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, called U.S. District Judge Terence Kern's decision overturning Oklahoma's gay marriage ban the latest example of judicial overreach.

"They do not have the right to make laws. The people make the laws," he said.

Standridge said he believes most people in Oklahoma still oppose same-sex marriage, as they did in 2004 when 75 percent of the state's voters supported a ban.

"Homosexuality, it's always been unlawful. It's always been a sin. It's unnatural," said Standridge. "You can say they're born that way all you want, I don't believe it."

Of course, not everyone agrees with Standridge's view. Muskogee resident Calvin Rock praised Judge Kern's decision.

"I was kind of stunned at first that it would happen in Oklahoma," said Rock.

Rock said he supports marriage equality because he loves his son, who is gay.

"I believe my son should be able to get married to whom he loves the same as my daughter, who's straight," said Rock.

Rock said when his son came out in 1998, he and his wife had many questions and concerns, but still supported him.

"We were determined that our son would be treated just like anyone else," he said. "We loved him. We raised him. We know who he is. He's a good person. He's a good Christian man."

Rock believes many people's views on gay marriage have changed since Oklahoma voters approved the ban in 2004.

"I think what's changed a lot of things in the United States and Oklahoma is people are realizing gays and lesbians are their neighbors, their friends, their co-workers and they see them as ordinary normal people," said Rock.

The Tulsa County district attorney's office, which represents the Tulsa county clerk, one of the defendants in the federal lawsuit, said they will file an appeal.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said the federal government should respect the will of Oklahoma voters.

"We will take it to the Supreme Court of the United States if necessary. We will uphold the rights and the will of the people of Oklahoma," said Harris.

RELATED: State politicians speak out against gay marriage ban decision

The ruling has been stayed, meaning same-sex couples cannot get married in Oklahoma during the appeals process.

Both supporters and opponents of gay marriage plan to watch future court proceedings closely to see what happens next.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments