US judge strikes down Okla. same-sex marriage ban

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution, but immediately stayed the effects of the ruling while the courts sort out the matter.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern criticized a law that was approved by voters in 2004 in this conservative state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt. He described the gay marriage ban as ‘‘an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.’’

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