For the second time in less than two months, a federal appeals court panel in Denver has upheld same-sex marriage, giving gay couples another victory en route to a final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a 2-1 decision Friday, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage and followed much of the reasoning it used when it struck down Utah's ban last month.
In both cases, the judges ruled that individuals had a constitutional right to marry that superseded the state's arguments that the bans were valid.
The decisions, which were put on hold by the appellate panel, mark the first and second time a federal appeals court has ruled on gay marriage since the Supreme Court said a year ago that the federal government had to extend benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Utah has already said it will appeal to the Supreme Court, which is expected to gather up a number of same-sex marriage cases, then decide the issue.