Catholic World News

Judge declares Oklahoma’s marriage amendment unconstitutional

January 16, 2014

Oklahoma’s marriage amendment, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, is unconstitutional because it is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit,” a federal judge has ruled.

Judge Terence Kern, a Clinton appointee, “headed off any rush to the altar by setting aside his order while state and local officials complete an appeal,” the Associated Press reported.

“This ruling is cause for great concern,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City. “It thwarts the common good, which depends upon the willingness of societal leaders to uphold basic truths about our humanity. The reality of marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman’ is just such a basic truth. The majority of Oklahomans recognize this. That Judge Kern chooses to ignore it is deeply disappointing.”

“Ultimately, neither Church nor state can alter the reality of marriage – but we can delude ourselves about its definition,” he added. “Maintaining the illusion that genderless marriage is possible comes at a cost to all of us, though. It obscures the facts that only the union between a man and a woman brings forth children and that every child has a father and a mother and deserves to know and relate to them, even though tragic circumstances sometimes render that impossible. That we would willingly deprive children of the opportunity to grow up with mother and father is especially troubling.”

“Now more than ever, I will pray for a renewed respect for the reality and the authentic goods of marriage among the leaders of our nation.”

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  • Posted by: Jason C. - Jan. 16, 2014 2:32 PM ET USA

    State laws are trumped by the Federal Constitution, Dr. Jazz, per the Supreme Court's interpretation of Article 6: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Jan. 16, 2014 7:47 AM ET USA

    Oklahoma voters passed Question 711, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, in 2004. It is an amendment to the Oklahoma constitution, and therefore PART OF THE CONSTITUTION! Will someone please explain to me how part of a constitution can be unconstitutional? If it's in the constitution, then, by definition, it's constitutional!