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Couple says ban violates separation of church and state

/ Source: The Associated Press

Trey Watts and Darin Moore returned from Massachusetts with a valid marriage license and a video camera full of well-wishers.

The Oklahoma City men married May 20 in Somerville, Mass. Watts and Moore are believed to be the only Oklahoma gay couple so far to have wed in Massachusetts, which last week became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages.

Now they're planning a party, complete with video footage of people they interviewed while traveling.

The video clips include interviews with strangers they met _ people at the airport, on the plane and on the streets of Boston. Those interviewed were asked what they thought of same-sex marriage.

"We received no negative comments," Moore said. "We've received nothing but love, compassion and kindness. It's been the most enlightening experience of my life."

Oklahoma does not allow same-sex marriages, and Attorney General Drew Edmondson has said the state will not recognize marriages from other states. Watts and Moore, whose marriage license already is matted and framed, say that doesn't matter.

"We are legally married. Period. If the state of Oklahoma does not want to recognize our union, the state of Massachusetts does."

Moore said he and Watts think opposition to same-sex marriage is grounded in religious beliefs and banning same-sex marriage violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

"We're fighting for religious freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we are fighting for it right here," said Watts, who was honorably discharged after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has said marriage licenses will not be issued to out-of-state gay couples, although some court clerks are ignoring the order. Moore and Watts chose to avoid the issue by subleasing an apartment in Northhampton, Mass., to establish residency.

The men said they hope Oklahomans will defeat a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. The Legislature passed the proposed amendment in April, sending it to voters on the November general election ballot.

At least two same-sex Oklahoma couples married in San Francisco this spring, but questions remain on the legality of those marriages, due to a court challenge.


Information from: The Oklahoman,