Appeals court upholds decision voiding Okla. gay marriage ban

Reuters
A gay couple holds hands during a rally in support of the United States Supreme Court decision on marriage rights in San Diego
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A gay couple holds hands during a rally in support of the United States Supreme Court decision on marriage …

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court decision voiding as unconstitutional Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, drawing on a similar decision it made for Utah.

The decision by the three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest in a series of rulings by judges in federal and state courts to find such exclusions violate the U.S. Constitution.

The appellate court in Denver last month also upheld a decision that gay couples have a right to marry in Utah. Gay marriage is on hold in both Utah and Oklahoma while the appeals are being resolved.

Numerous lawsuits against same-sex marriage bans have followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The Utah ruling was the first at the appellate level since the Supreme Court decision.

There are now 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal. In another nine states, federal judges have struck down bans on same-sex marriage but the rulings have been put on hold pending appeal.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Bill Trott)

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