Laws

United States of America

OKLAHOMA

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Discrimination
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Inheritance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Partners
Parenting
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 17 November 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed the District Court's dismissal of the petition of Charlene Ramey as the non-biological parent after almost 10 years co-parenting, finding she lacked standing because the same sex couple had not married and had no written parenting agreement and no parental rights and custody of the child. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings on the question of custody and visitation saying, 'This couple and more importantly, their child, is entitled to the love, protection and support from the only parents the child has known' [C1.3], [R1.2].

On 03 March 2012, the biological mother living in Texas, was seeking full custody of her child Chandler from Larry Harris and his partner Justin, her brother and his same-sex partner, who were awarded custody after she tested positive for drugs at the time of the child's birth three years ago [R1.1].

C1.3 Opinion: Charlene Ramey v. Kinberley Sutton No. 2015 OK 29 PDF kb 17 NOV 15
R1.2 TulsaWorld: Oklahoma Supreme Court hands down landmark ruling on same-sex parenting 17 NOV 15
R1.1 News9: Same Sex Couple Fights for Custody of Child 03 MAR 12
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [MARRIAGE]
1.

State

No municipalities are known to offer domestic partner benefits.

   
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

In 1998, two separate Bills were in Oklahoma State Legislature which would if passed prevent "homosexuals or lesbians" from adopting or working in a school [R1.1].

2.

Cities & Towns

On 05 January 2016, Oklahoma City Council voted 5-4 in favor of an ordinance that will prohibit housing discrimination against LGBT community members on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds with effect from 04 February [R2.4].

On 22 December 2015, Norman City Council unanimously approved the redefinition of the word “sex” in the city's existing Human Rights Ordinance extending gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public spaces, covering both sexual orientation and gender identity [R2.3].

On 15 November 2011, Oklahoma City Council voted 7–2 to to add sexual orientation to the city's employment nondiscrimination policy, giving employees explicit protection against discrimination in city offices [R2.2].

On 17 June 2010, Tulsa City Council voted to add protections for sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination policy for city employees [R2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

On 20 November 2017, a US District Court jury found that Dr Rachel Tudor, former professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, had been discriminated against by being denied tenure because of her gender and a chance to re-apply due to her past complaints about workplace discrimination. The jury was awarded Tudor $1,165,000 in damages [C3.2], [R3.1].

R1.1 Queensland Pride: Gay Teacher Ban MAY 98
2. Cities & Towns
R2.4 SunTimes: 06 JAN 15
R2.3 TheAdvocate: Oklahoma Now Has One City Where LGBT Rights are Protected 23 DEC 15
R2.2 NewsOK: Oklahoma City Council passes controversial sexual orientation measure 15 NOV 11
R2.1 The Advocate: Tulsa Approves Nondiscrimination Policy 18 JUN 10
3. Courts & Tribunals
C3.2 Verdict Form: Dr Rachel Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Anor No. 5:15-cv-00324-C PDF 229.35kb 20 NOV 17
R3.1 BuzzFeed 21 November 2017 | Dominic Holden This Transgender Professor Just Won A $1 Million Jury Verdict In A Major Case Against A University 21 NOV 17
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 20 November 2017, a US District Court jury found that Dr Rachel Tudor, former professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, had been discriminated against by being denied tenure because of her gender and a chance to re-apply due to her past complaints about workplace discrimination. The jury was awarded Tudor $1,165,000 in damages [C1.9], [R1.8].

On 21 March 2014, the Court of Civil Appeals allowed the appeal of James Dean Ingram to change his name to Angela Renee Ingram, reversing Judge Graves 30 August 2012 decision [C1.7], [R1.6].

On 20 November 2012, the Civil Appeals Court reversed and remanded the 02 September 2011 judgment of County District Judge Bill Graves that denied the application of Steven Charles Harvey to change his name to Christie Ann Harvey and directed to grant the name change. The Court noted that Harvey “did not seek to have his name changed for any illegal or fraudulent purpose or to delay or hinder creditors” [C1.5], [R1.4].

On 30 August 2012, Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves reportedly denied the application of James Dean Ingram to change his name to Angela Renee Ingram. The judge ruled the requests in this and the preceding case (below) were made for fraudulent purpose [C1.3], [R1.2].

On 02 September 2011, Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves denied the application of Steven Charles Harvey to change his name to Christie Ann Harvey [C1.1].

C1.9 Verdict Form: Dr Rachel Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Anor No. 5:15-cv-00324-C PDF 229.35kb 20 NOV 17
R1.8 BuzzFeed 21 November 2017 | Dominic Holden This Transgender Professor Just Won A $1 Million Jury Verdict In A Major Case Against A University 21 NOV 17
C1.7 Opinion: Opinion: In the Matter of the Application of James Dean Ingram to Change His/Her Name Case No. 111,101 PDF 115.09kb, 21 MAR 14
R1.6 TheOklahoman: State court allows transgender Oklahoman to change name 21 MAR 14
C1.5 Opinion: In the Matter of the Application of Steven Charles Harvey to Change His Name No. 110,048 PDF 186.59kb, 20 NOV 12
R1.4 NewsOK: Oklahoma appeals court orders name change in transgender case 20 NOV 12
C1.3 OSCN: In the Matter of the Application of James Dean Ingram to change his name CV-2012-1367, 30 AUG 12
R1.2 NewsOK: Oklahoma judge refuses to let men planning sex-change operations have feminine names 16 SEP 12
C1.1 Order and Judgment as to Plaintiff's Petition for Change of Name: In the Matter of the Application of Steven Charles Harvey to change his name No. CV-2011-1075 PDF 8.23MB, 02 SEP 11
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

In April 2010, a House bill before the Oklahoma legislature seeking to exempt the state from the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was blocked [R1.3].

In March 2010, Senate Bill 1965 was passed providing that local enforcement agencies should not enforce any sections of federal law listed under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245 unless they are already covered by state law. But its Section 249, not 245, where sexual orientation and gender identity protections are listed. Section 245 outlines protections based on race and religion. As a consequence, the bill is considered to have little chance of getting through the House [R1.2].

On 10 March 2010, Senator Steve Russell pushed an amendment that would if passed, make it possible for the state to circumvent the portion of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act that concerns LGBT protections [R1.1]

R1.3 The Advocate: Oklahoma Antigay Bill Stalls 06 APR 10
R1.2 The Advocate: Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Wrong Hate Crimes Bill 29 MAR 10
R1.1 The Advocate: Oklahoma Senate Opts Out of Hate-Crime Act 11 MAR 10

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Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

The criminal law in Oklahoma prohibits consensual sex between same-sex couples.

The June 2003 US Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence & Garner -v- Texas that a similar the law in Texas was an unconstitutional violation of privacy is thought to nullify or invalidate the Oklahoma law [C1.3, [R1.2].


On 16 May 2016, House Bill 2398 (the Justice for J.W. Act of 2016), that was introduced after criminal charges were dropped (see 2.1 below) against a 17-year-old boy accused of forcing a heavily intoxicated girl to perform oral sex, was passed by a Senate budget panel and now goes to the full Senate [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 24 April 2016, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 5-0 that unconsciousness and intoxication are not part of the definition in the state's law to establish forcible sodomy (rape involving the mouth or anus of the victim), upholding the dismissal of charges against R.Z.M. in the Tulsa County District Court, a 17-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl after driving her home following a session of drinking at a park in Tulsa [R2.1].

C1.3 US Supreme Court: Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) 26 JUN 03
R1.2 Associated Press: Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban 26 JUN 03
R1.1 KOAMtv: Bill addressing court's sodomy ruling clears Oklahoma panel16 MAY 16
C2.2 Summary Opinion: State of Oklahoma v. R.Z.M. No. JS 2015-1076 PDF 102.29kb 24 MAR 16
R2.1 Independent: Forced oral sex where victim has passed out drunk is ruled not illegal by Oklahoma court 28 APR 16
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 20 March 2017, it was reported that the Osage Nation voted to change the definition of marriage as between ''two persons'' rather than the former ''a man and a woman''. The proposal passed with 53 percent of the vote [R1.4].

On 01 May 2015, Governor Mary Fallin was reported to have signed into law bill HB1007 that allows ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if such marriages conflict with their religious beliefs but veteod a similar measure, Senate Bill 788, as duplicative [R1.3].

On 22 April 2015, the House voted 87-8 (quaere 88-7) for bill (HB1007: The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act) while a nearly identical bill (SB 788) passed the Senate on a 38-5 (quaere 39-6) vote. The Bills protect clergy members and others authorized to perform weddings from being required to perform them if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. They also shield churches from being required to participate in the ceremonies [R1.2].

On 06 October 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued its orders in the Bishop v. Smith (Oklahoma) and Kitchen v. Herbert (Utah) cases, allowing same-sex marriages to proceed in both states [C2.15], [R2.14]. See: 2. Courts & Tribunals.

Previously:

On 02 November 2004, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Oklahoma Constitution Article II. Bill of Rights

Section 35. "Marriage" Defined - Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender Not Valid or Recognized

(A) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. Neither this Constitution nor any other provision of law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

(B) A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another state shall not be recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of the marriage.


In 1996, a law prohibiting same-sex marriages and the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states was passed [R1.1].

Oklahoma Statutes. Title 43. Marriage and Family

§43-3.1. Recognition of marriage between persons of same gender prohibited.

A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another state shall not be recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of the marriage.
Added by Laws 1996, c. 131, 9, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 15 October 2014, Oklahoma County Special District Judge Lisa Hammond granted Deanne R Baker a divorce from Julie L Baker who she married in Iowa in July 2012. Previously, on 19 August 2014, Special Judge Don Andrews vacated the decree of dissolution of marriage granted 18 August 2014 [C2.17], [R2.16].

On 06 October 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued its orders in the Bishop v. Smith (Oklahoma) and Kitchen v. Herbert (Utah) cases, allowing same-sex marriages to proceed in both states [C2.15], [R2.14].

On 06 October 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of five cases from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin seeking the freedom to marry, leaving in force the five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, meaning that soon, as many as 60% of the American people will be living in freedom-to-marry states [C2.13], [R2.12].

On 29 September 2014, the nine justices of the US Supreme Court likely met to discuss whether they should take up any or all of the seven petitions before the Court from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin on the issue of marriage equality. (The only public word from the Court after the conference will be its order list. The list could be released earlier but likely will issue on 06 October) [R2.11].

On 06 August 2014, a petition was filed in the US Supreme Court following the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin & Ors. v. Sally Howe Smith & Ors. seeking clarification as to “whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a state from defining or recognizing marriage only as the legal union between a man and a woman” [C2.10], [R2.9].

On 18 July 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld 2-1 the ruling that struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban but stayed the ruling pending an appeal [C2.8], [R2.7].

On 17 April 2014, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will begin hearing the appeal in the challenge to the constitutionality of the marriage ban in the Mary Bishop & Ors v. Eric Holder & Ors case.

On 14 January 2014, Judge Terence Kern in the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, ruled that the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the US Constitution, staying his ruling pending an appeal [C2.6], [R2.5].

On 22 December 2013, lawyers acting for two same-sex couples suing for the right to marry in Oklahoma and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in the state, filed a brief pointing to a recent ruling in Utah that found a same-sex marriage ban violated the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 10 October 2013, despite same-sex marriage being unlawful in Oklahoma, Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear received an official marriage license from the autonomous Native American Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribal Court in Concho, as they both have Native American heritage and live within the tribe's jurisdiction. They will now be able to receive federal tax benefits like any other married couple [R2.2].

In December 2008, an attempt by a lesbian couple to force the tate to recognise same-sex marriage by granting them a divorce failed [R2.1].

On 03 November 2004, Mary Bishop, Sharon Baldwin, Susan G Barton, and Gay E Phillips filed a lawsuit seeking the right to marry [C2.0].

R1.4 4029news: Osage Nation voters approve same-sex marriage 21 MAR 17
R1.3 TulsaWorld: Gov. Mary Fallin signs clergy protection measure in same-sex marriage cases 02 MAY 15
R1.2 EdgeMediaNetwork: Oklahoma Lawmakers Approve Bill Allowing Clergy, Others to Refuse Same-Sex Weddings 23 APR 15
R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: 'No Marriage' Say US States 10 MAY 96
C2.17 Court record: In Re the marriage of Deanne R Baker v. Julie L Baker No. FD-2014-2711, 15 OCT 2014
R2.16 NewsOK: Oklahoma now has same-sex divorce as well as same-sex marriage 17 NOV 14
C2.15 Order: Bishop & Barton v. Smith No. 14-5003 PDF 40.02kb, 06 OCT 14
R2.14 LGBTQ Nation: Tenth Circuit lifts stay: Same-sex marriage now legal in Utah, Oklahoma 06 OCT 14
C2.13 Orders: Ordeer List: 574 U.S. PDF 433.43kb, 06 OCT 14
R2.12 FreedomToMarry: SCOTUS denies review of marriage cases, bringing the freedom to marry to 5 states 06 OCT 14
R2.11 GayNZ: Supreme Court discusses marriage 30 SEP 14
C2.10 Petition: Sally Howe Smith v. Mary Bishop, et al. PDF 692.20kb, 05 AUG 14
R2.9 GLBTNN: Oklahoma appeals gay marriage case to SCOTUS 06 AUG 14
C2.8 Opinion: Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin & Ors. v. Sally Howe Smith & Ors. Nos. 14-5003, 14-5006 PDF 244.37kb, 18 JUL 14
R2.7 TheGuardian: Oklahoma same-sex marriages ruled constitutional for second time 19 JUL 14
C2.6 Opinion and Order: Mary Bishop & Ors v. Eric Holder & Ors No. 04-CV-848-TCK-TLW PDF 206.25kb, 14 JAN 14
R2.5 The Advocate: Judge Says OK to Marriage Equality in Oklahoma 14 JAN 14
C2.4 Notice of Supplemental Post-Windsor Authority: Mary Bishop & Ors v. United States ex rel. Eric H Holder & Anor. No. 04-CV-848-TCK-TLW PDF 319.43kb, 23 DEC 13
R2.3 EdgeOnTheNet: Brief Filed in Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Lawsuit 23 DEC 13
R2.2 HuffingtonPost: Gay Couple Married In Oklahoma: Jason Pickel, Darren Black Bear Tie The Knot Despite State Ban 22 OCT 13
R2.1 MCV: Lesbians Fail in Divorce Bid 11 DEC 08
C2.0 Mary Bishop, et al. v. Oklahoma, et al. Case No. 4:04-cv-00848
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

In May 2004, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry has signed a bill overturning the attorney general's opinion that recognized adoptions by out-of-state gay and lesbian couples [R1.1].

Previously:

In April 2004, the Oklahoma Senate passed legislation requiring birth certificates issued to children adopted by same-sex couples outside the state to carry only the name of one parent [R1.2].

The measure went to the House for final approval [R1.2] before being submitted to the governor.


A 1996 Oklahoma law prohibits gay men and lesbians from adopting [R1.2] and fostering children.

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 21 September 2017, a Muskogee County judge sentenced Rachel Jean Stevens, 29, and her girlfriend Kayla Ann Jones, 26, to 20 years in prison in the case of a 5-year-old who was beaten so severely by them that he suffered two strokes while hospitalized [R2.4].

On 19 December 2014, Associate District Judge Duane Woodliff in the Okmulgee County District Court granted what may be the first same-sex couple adoptions in Oklahoma when two young boys in state Department of Human Services care were adopted by a married lesbian couple in Tulsa [R2.3].

On 12 November 2014, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian woman who helped raise her partner's two biological children is entitled to a court hearing on her claim for parental rights and what is in the best interest of the children [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.1 The Advocate: Gay Out-of-state Adoptive Parents No Longer Recognized in Oklahoma 05 MAY 04
R1.2 365gay.com: Oklahoma Moves To Limit Gay Adoption 13 APR 04
R2.4 TulsaWorld: Two Muskogee women get 20 years in severe beating of 5-year-old boy
R2.3 NOLA: Same-sex Oklahoma couple among first to get adoption decree 12 JAN 15
C2.2 Order Julie Eldredge v. Karen Taylor No. 2014 OK 92 PDF 44.76kb, 12 NOV 14
R2.1 TheAdaNews: Oklahoma Supreme Court rules in gay parents' case 12 NOV 14
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 21 September 2017, a Muskogee County judge sentenced Rachel Jean Stevens, 29, and her girlfriend Kayla Ann Jones, 26, to 20 years in prison in the case of a 5-year-old who was beaten so severely by them that he suffered two strokes while hospitalized [R1.1].

R1.1 TulsaWorld: Two Muskogee women get 20 years in severe beating of 5-year-old boy

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