Marriage equality: pending appeal
Assistant Managing Editor
Tuesday, Jan. 14, U.S. District Court Judge Terence C. Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He stayed enforcement of his judgment pending appeal.
This means same-sex marriage is still neither legal nor recognized in the state of Oklahoma.
President John McArthur declined to comment on the issue and Mayor Fred Fitch did not repsond to inquiries, Cameron University’s SGA President Kevin Stieb gave his opinion on the matter.
Stieb, who made it clear that his opinion in no way reflects the opinion of SGA, said the ruling will definitely be appealed.
“I’m not sure what the general consensus is among Cameron students, but I hazard to say that it would be welcome by a large portion of the population. … I believe there will be some who are very upset, as they believe it conflicts with their values. I also believe there will be a large celebration in organizations like P.R.I.D.E. It’s hard to evaluate the response as a whole due to the unique combination we have of a University community with the conservative community of the area.”
Stieb added that, although the issue is not relevant to him directly, in an indirect sense, it would make him happy to see two consenting adults marry if they so desire.
Jennifer Castricone, Faculty Advisor to CU P.R.I.D.E., said she feels strongly that this is a step in the right direction.
“While it may take some time, I do believe that eventually marriage equality will be a reality in all 50 states,” Castricone said.
“Given our state’s history, it seems likely that we will be among the last to adopt marriage equality, though I fervently hope that Oklahoma embraces equality sooner rather than later.”
To Gil Nunez, a junior English major who has had a same-sex partner for over 18 years, it is not just marriage, but the right to live as normally as possible.
“The simple truth of the matter is that gay marriage isn’t relevant to anyone, except for the people that are marrying each other and to claim some societal burden for the simple act of loving someone is so far beyond the realm of comprehension for me that I have days when I simply cannot find a reason to stay in this state that my partner and I call our home.”
Albert Rivas, a minister in the Lawton community agreed that adaptation is a must.
“The equality of marriage to me is a change that everyone should have already accepted many years ago,” Rivas said. “It has always baffled me that in a ‘Bible Belt’ state where we are taught the ways of Jesus Christ, to love and accept one another we cannot accept change and move forward with our beliefs no matter what they are.”
“We have a new generation stepping into the forefront of politics,” Rivas continued. “We must start accepting change and moving forward to a better America and a better Oklahoma. The only negative affect it will have on us is with those who oppose it. They will continue with their negative rants and hate marches as they do now. This will only further the view of the ‘Bible Belt’ as a source of hatred and discrimination, which is in direct opposition to the true words of Jesus Christ.”
Mark Deyesso, senior Theater major, said the thing that people need to realize in Oklahoma is that homosexuality is a scientific reality.
“It is not an accident. Many times, I run into the argument of religion when it comes to a person’s view of same sex marriage and homosexuality,” Deyesso said. “I just have one thing to say to the individuals who believe that I should not be able to marry my loving partner of nearly two and a half years, and it is this: marriage stopped being about religion a long time ago. Marriage has become a political statement and a means of gaining benefits from our government on a national and local level. I think that if the government stops offering benefits for marriage in general and it becomes a purely religious statement once again, then and only then can I be told that marriage is not for me.”
Deyesso added that it is a wonderful thing to see individuals in power at the national level coming to the realization that the LGBT cause is a matter of civil rights and something that needs to be acted upon now.
Deyesso said he cannot say with complete certainty what will happen with the appeal and what effect it will have on Cameron students and members of the Lawton Community.
“All I know is that a fire has been lit and the LGBT community is not about to let that burn out. So, if our rights are denied, we will fight like hell. If our rights are granted, we will have a lot of happily married same-sex couples in this state. Anyone who has a problem with that is just going to have to join us in the 21st century … a time that will hopefully be recorded in history as the time in which the fight for equality was won, at least for LGBT individuals.”