Court Removes Tulsa Couple from Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Article excerpt

A Tulsa couple vow to continue their effort to have same-sex marriage recognized in Oklahoma, despite a federal appeals court decision Friday that essentially removed them from a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's ban on such unions.

On Monday, Sharon Baldwin noted that the weekend had marked the 2009 Pride celebration for Tulsa's gay community.

"There's nothing like Pride weekend to sort of get you re- motivated for the cause, all of those people out there just being normal and celebrating the fact that we love each other," she said. "We're just people. We're just people who love people who are different from who heterosexual people love."

Baldwin and Mary Bishop have been together about 13 years, and underwent a commitment ceremony in Florida in 2000. They and another couple from Tulsa, Susan Barton and Gay Phillips, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the Oklahoma ban, shortly after the latter was approved by voters in 2004. Barton and Phillips were married in Canada in 2005, after a civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2001.

Reversing a lower court ruling, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday that the couples lacked standing to sue the Oklahoma governor and attorney general, as they did, because the executive branch of government has no authority to issue marriage licenses or record marriages. …