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Federal appeals court rejects Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban

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The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday deemed Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The 2-1 ruling is the second decision issued about same-sex marriage by the 10th Circuit Court. Previously, the court rejected Utah's same-sex marriage ban. The federal appeals court is so far the highest court in the country to rule on the issue since the US Supreme Court in 2013 struck down the federal ban on same-sex marriages.

The case could now be appealed to the US Supreme Court. If the appeal is successful, LGBT advocates expect the nation's highest court to strike down states' same-sex marriage bans in a 5-4 ruling.

The decision potentially affects all states within the 10th circuit: Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. But, as with the Utah decision, the 10th Circuit Court put the ruling on hold until it works through the appeals process.

The ruling cited the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause, just like other same-sex marriage cases since the Supreme Court decision in 2013.

"In upholding the district court's substantive ruling in this case, the majority concludes that Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban … impermissibly contravenes the fundamental right to marry protected by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution," 10th Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes wrote in his concurrence.

The 10th Circuit Court is the highest federal court to rule on the issue so far, but its decision is just one of many recent rulings in favor of same-sex marriage rights. Most recently, courts struck down same-sex marriage bans in Florida, Colorado, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

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