The 4 Lawsuit-Wielding Oklahoma Lesbians Who Want to Drop Elbows on DOMA


Did you know Chad Griffin’s Prop 8 lawsuit — the Olson-Boies one that doesn’t want gay rights groups involved — isn’t the only federal challenge to marriage inequality laws? Four brass Oklahoma gals are filing their own court papers demanding an end to this discrimination nonsense. Let’s tune in.

There are two couples attached to a new(ly amended) complaint, re-filed after a portion of their lawsuit was dismissed this summer.

One is Susan Barton and Gay Phillips, who have been fighting this fight for years, and who have been married about sixteen times to each other: Once in California on Nov. 1 (four days before Prop 8 took effect), once in British Columbia in May 2005, and they snagged a civil union in Vermont in August 2001. Both editors at the Tulsa World newspaper and together for 25 years, now they want a marriage in Oklahoma!

Then there’s Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop, who’ve been together for twelve-plus years, had a commitment ceremony in March 2000, but are otherwise “single, unmarried” in the eyes of the law.

So what are these women so angry about that they went and hired lawyers? They want taxation equality! Health care equality! Language equality!

As God-fearing Christians, Barton and Phillips “value marriage,” they say, except Oklahoma and federal laws (that’s you, DOMA) violate their equal protection guarantees. Which is totally true! And, as these ladies are learning, expensive as hell to prove.