U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern said the court would not immediately enforce this ruling -- therefore not opening the doors right away to marriages of gay and lesbian couples in Oklahoma -- pending appeals. Still, he delivered a clear opinion on how the voter-approved Oklahoma state constitutional amendment relates to the U.S. Constitution.
"The Court holds that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," the judge wrote, saying that protection "is at the very heart of our legal system."
His decision specifically deals with "Part A" of an Oklahoma Constitutional amendment that says, in part, "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman."
Kern said that "the Court's rationality review reveals Part A an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a government benefit." Proponents of the state constitutional measure, he points out, "purposefully (drew a line) between two groups of Oklahoma citizens -- same-sex couples desiring an Oklahoma marriage license and opposite-sex couples desiring (a) marriage license."