DENVER — A federal appeals court struck down a second conservative-leaning state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Friday, ruling that Oklahoma could not deny gay couples their “fundamental right” to wed.
The 2-to-1 decision came less than a month after the same panel of judges for the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit decided that Utah’s ban violated same-sex couples’ constitutional rights to equal protection.
It was another legal victory for gay couples as a range of legal challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage edge toward the US Supreme Court.
As in the Utah case, the panel of three judges — two Republican-nominated and one Democrat-nominated — were once again asked to weigh the constitutionality of same-sex marriage prohibitions that had passed with overwhelming voter support.
Lawyers for the Tulsa County clerk, who was the lead defendant in the case, argued that limiting marriage to one man and one woman sought to reinforce traditional family bonds and encourage the raising of children by their biological parents. The judges rejected that view.
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