Thursday, July 19, 2007

Speaker Cargill Moves to Intervene In Lesbian Divorce Case

From "The Advocate"


Speaker of Oklahoma house to intervene in same-sex divorce case

The speaker of the Oklahoma house has filed a motion to intervene in a case involving an appeal of a Tulsa County judge's decision to dismiss a same-sex divorce decree, reports the Associated Press.

Republican Lance Cargill said in the motion, filed with the state supreme court, that because Cait O'Darling is challenging the constitutionality of a state law that prohibits same-sex marriage, legislative leaders are allowed to intervene in the case.

O'Darling's appeal challenges an amendment to the Oklahoma constitution, approved by voters in 2004, that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman; it also seeks to determine whether same-sex marriages performed in other countries are valid in Oklahoma.

As reported by AP, the appeal may also question whether a state statute prohibiting recognition of marriages between people of the same gender performed in another state can also be applied to marriage performed in Canada.

O'Darling filed for a divorce in July 2006 against her wife, identified in court documents as S. O'Darling. Records state the pair were married in Canada in 2002.

In November 2006, then–special district judge C. Michael Zacharias granted the couple a divorce but vacated the order after he discovered they were not a heterosexual couple.

In his ruling annulling the divorce order, he stated he could "find no authority to suggest that Oklahoma would recognize a same-gender marriage from a foreign country."

Cait O'Darling said the judge made a mistake in dismissing her divorce without giving the pair notice or a chance to be heard.

John Flippo, Cait O'Darling’s attorney, told the AP on Wednesday a recently filed brief in the case does not challenge the constitutionality of any Oklahoma law and that Cargill does not have standing to intervene in the case. (The Advocate)



Speaker Cargill is represented by Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Glen Lavy, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks and Alliance Defense Fund Allied Attorney Bill Kumpe of Tulsa.


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