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Oklahoma gay couples can now file for benefits

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gayMarriage_2579547bTULSA, Okla. (AP) — State employees married to people of the same sex can now apply for benefits in Oklahoma, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services said.

Spokesman John Estus told the Tulsa World that married gay couples and those who plan on marrying can submit a benefits change request for the 2014 plan year.

“It’s the same process as our normal benefits change process,” Estus said. “If you have some qualifying event in the middle of a year that would necessitate a change, you fill out a form.”

He said the only change was to a form that now says “married couple” instead of “husband and wife.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Oklahoma after the U.S. Supreme Court last week declined to take up appeals from five states seeking to preserve their bans. The high court’s decision effectively made such marriages legal in 30 states.

An increasing number of same-sex couples have been filing for marriage licenses, according to Jason Jones, head of the license division for the Tulsa County Court Clerk. The office stopped maintaining a record of how many same-sex marriage licenses were filed after Tuesday, but Jones noted the office issued 240 marriage licenses in total last week.

The 65 total licenses given out Friday were “far and away the most we’ve ever had in one day,” Jones said.

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Associated Press

The Associated Press is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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