Okla. gay marriage ban struck down; ruling on hold

JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS Associated Press Published:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- For the second time in a month, a federal judge has set aside a deeply conservative state's limits on same-sex marriage, this time in Oklahoma.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma's voter-approved ban. But he headed off any rush to the altar by putting the effects of his ruling on hold pending an appeal.

Like the federal judge who reversed Utah's gay marriage ban in December, Kern determined that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. His ruling had references to both the Utah ruling and those issued by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.

The decision drew criticism from the governor, attorney general and other elected officials in this state, known as the buckle of the Bible Belt.