Oklahoma lawmakers, Tulsa Co. DA respond to court decision deeming gay marriage ban unconstitutional

TULSA - Following a U.S. District Court's landmark decision finding Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Tuesday, several Oklahoma state and local lawmakers expressed concern.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa and Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris all offered their opinions on the ruling Tuesday evening.

Below are statements from each: 

Fallin:"In 2004, the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.’ That amendment passed with 75 percent support. The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government."

Pruitt: "It is a troubling decision ... There is a case involving the State of Utah currently pending before the 10th Circuit that is identical to the case in Tulsa," he said. "The issue most likely will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and the outcome will dictate whether Oklahoma’s constitutional provision will be upheld.”

Mullin: "In 2004, the people of Oklahoma voted to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.’ That amendment passed with 75 percent support. The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once again been ignored by the federal government."

Bridenstine: "Today a federal judge, Terence Kern, in Tulsa, wrongly declared that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment protecting the institution of marriage violates the federal Constitution. The amendment to the State constitution was approved by 75 percent of voters in 2004. 

Under the limited federal powers enumerated in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and the 10th Amendment, which recognizes that powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the states and the people, a federal judge has no place to dictate the terms of marriage in Oklahoma.  The State Constitution overrides a federal judge’s personal opinion.

In his decision Kern called the ban an “exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.”  Marriage is not a “governmental benefit.”  Marriage is the foundational institution in our culture which recognizes the very unique and complimentary contributions men and women make in the raising of children."

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