10th Circuit Court of Appeals rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in Oklahoma

(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — For the second time, a federal appeals court in Denver has ruled states cannot prevent gay people from getting married.

Coming on the heels of its decision last month that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the same conclusion in an Oklahoma case Friday.

Lower courts had struck down voter-approved bans in those states, and the rulings by the 10th Circuit are the first at the appellate level since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.

RELATED: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling

The Utah and Oklahoma cases are expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, and gay marriage in both states will stay on hold until the appeals process plays out.

Since the DOMA ruling, more than 20 courts have ruled gay marriage is unconstitutional, with rulings in 17 states.

After the Utah ruling, Boulder County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers went to court to get the county to stop but was denied.

That’s when Denver and Pueblo counties began issuing licenses. Suthers and Gov. John Hickenlooper want the Colorado Supreme Court to rule whether county clerks can issue licenses.