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Appeals court strikes down Oklahoma gay marriage ban

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Oklahoma court stirkes down gay marraige banA federal appeals court in Denver struck down a second state ban on same-sex marriage Friday, ruling that Oklahoma -- like Utah before it - cannot prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying.

The decision by a three-judge panel in the 10-year-old lawsuit is likely to give the Supreme Court a choice: It can use either Utah or Oklahoma as its foil for judging the constitutionality of all such bans, or it can wait for more cases headed its way from Virginia and elsewhere.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit also has jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming, as well as New Mexico, where same-sex couples already can marry. Its precedent applies to all those states, but the court blocked its ruling from taking effect while Oklahoma considers an appeal.

As was the case with Utah's appeal, the panel split 2-1, with Judges Carlos Lucero and Jerome Holmes voting to strike down the ban and Judge Paul Kelly dissenting.

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