The Supreme Court has issued a pair of significant but incomplete victories for supporters of gay marriage.
In one 5-to-4 ruling, the court struck down a provision of a federal law that denied federal benefits to gay married couples. The provision of the Defense of Marriage Act kept legally-married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits that go to married couples of the opposite sex.
In the other, also a 5-to-4 ruling, the justices said nothing at all about same-sex marriage itself. But they left in place a finding by a trial court that California's Proposition 8 -- banning same-sex marriage -- is unconstitutional.
Governor Mary Fallin issued the following statement about the DOMA ruling:
“When given the opportunity to vote on the issue, seventy-five percent of Oklahoma voters supported a constitutional amendment declaring that ‘marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.’ Like the vast majority of Oklahomans, I support traditional marriage. I do not and will not support expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also released a statement:
“The Court’s decisions confirmed that it is up to the states to decide how to define marriage, not the federal government. As a result, Oklahoma’s constitutional provision that defines marriage in Oklahoma as between a man and a woman remains valid.”
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn also released a statement on the DOMA ruling:
“In its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m disappointed the Supreme Court made a decision that overrides the clear intent of two branches of government. With this decision, five judges have violated the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans. Regardless of what people believe about this issue, it should be resolved by We the People, not the Courts. Our nation was fully capable of resolving this issue without the Court’s cultural and moral commentary. By taking sides in this debate, the Supreme Court has discouraged any American who believes marriage is a union between one man and one woman from legislating – and even thinking – differently from the Court.
“Even though the Court refrained from striking down state laws like the one in Oklahoma, those laws are far from safe. As Justice Scalia wrote, ‘By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.’”