Have you ever had a feeling that something big was about to happen? Not a well-defined sense of the occurrence. Not even something you can really verbalize. But something that in your gut makes you feel like life is about to change.
I have that feeling right now.
We learned yesterday afternoon that another federal judge has struck down a state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The offender this time: Oklahoma.
In Bishop v. United States, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern said Oklahoma’s law was “arbitrary,” “irrational,” and thus violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment. As Judge Shelby did in the Utah case, Kitchen v. Herbert, Judge Kern cites Windsor and as well as other previous landmark cases:
“There is no precise legal label for what has occurred in Supreme Court jurisprudence beginning with Romer in 1996 and culminating in Windsor in 2013, but this Court knows a rhetorical shift when it sees one.”
I see the shift too.
This case makes the second time in less than a month that a federal judge has struck down a state law that violates federal law. With 35 federal and or state suits pending, the Supreme Court will likely have to weigh in on this one.
I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad considering the Court had a chance to address the issue in Windosr but didn’t. Either way, it looks like we are going to find out.
The GLBT couples of Oklahoma can’t marry just yet. Judge Kerns stayed his ruling pending appeal. Oddly, this case has been pending for nine years. And it was actually the defenders of the law – Bipartisan Legal Advocacy Group (BLAG) – that asked that court to wait on the Windsor decision. I’m sure they regret that now. The plaintiffs’ attorneys cited Windsor and Kitchen cases in updated briefs.
Read the entire opinion here.
As always, stay tuned.