Thursday, July 03, 2008

Oklahoma Supreme Court: Judge Correct in Vacating Tulsa Same-Sex Couple’s “Divorce”

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a state judge acted within his authority when he vacated a divorce unknowingly granted to two women. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in October 2007 on behalf of then-Oklahoma Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, arguing that the state cannot grant a divorce to two people when the state does not even recognize them as married.

“The opponents of marriage aren’t merely trying to redefine marriage; they’re trying to eliminate marriage. Recognizing a same-sex ‘divorce’ would mean recognizing a ‘marriage’ that doesn’t exist under an Oklahoma law that voters passed by a margin of more than 3-to-1,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “The high court was right to determine that the lower court acted within its authority when it vacated the divorce decree it erroneously issued because it didn’t know the parties involved were of the same sex.”

Seventy-six percent of the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 protecting marriage between one man and one woman. Oklahoma’s marriage amendment also stipulates that same-sex “marriages” performed in other states are not recognized as valid and binding in the state of Oklahoma.

In its ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court wrote, “Disclosure that the purported marriage was between two women was not made, and it was not until contacted by the local paper that the trial court discovered this information…. The court has power to vacate when the successful party acted improperly to obtain the decree or if there was irregularity in obtaining the decree. Such actions are shown in the facts in the present matter.”


The preceding is a press release from The Alliance Defense Fun which is available online at:

The full text of the opinion in O’Darling v. O’Darling is available at:

The full text of the amicus brief is available at:'DarlingAmicus.pdf

ADF attorneys filed their friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Cargill in October 2007 (


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.


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