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Oklahoma gay marriage ban lawsuit pending 9 years

BY KRISTI EATON
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TULSA, Okla. -- Two same-sex couples who sued for the right to marry in conservative Oklahoma knew it would be a struggle, but they couldn't have expected that nine years later, they would still be awaiting their day in court.

Their federal lawsuit is the longest-running active lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act, according to national gay marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry.

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, a Tulsa couple together for 17 years, and another couple filed the lawsuit in November 2004, shortly after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Although the suit was revised in 2009 to name the Tulsa County clerk as a defendant, it maintains its original claim that the women should be allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

"While some people are getting their day in court and finding justice, we are sitting here, for nine years, with our hands tied," Bishop said.

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