Judge Denies Idaho Gov. Otter's Request To Put Same-Sex Marriages On Hold
This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. on May 14, 2014
The Associated Press reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale has denied Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to put Idaho same-sex marriages on hold.
The Idaho Statesman reports Otter requested that no same-sex marriages be allowed until the appeals process was complete.
"Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is preparing his own request for a stay, which should be filed today," the Statesman reports. "Wasden is also preparing to file an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."
Unless a higher court intervenes, same-sex couples will be able to marry in Idaho beginning Friday morning.
This story was originally posted at 6:33 p.m. on May 13, 2014
Gay couples might be able to get married in Idaho as soon as Friday morning. A federal judge Tuesday ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Idaho Candy Dale released her decision just eight days after hearing arguments.
In the case Latta v. Otter, four lesbian couples sued to overturn the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
A statement from the court reads:
“Judge Dale concluded that the challenged laws violate the rights of Idaho’s gay and lesbian citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Judge Dale issued a permanent injunction against the enforcement of any Idaho law that prohibits same-sex marriage or prevents recognition of existing, legal same-sex marriages.”
You can read Judge Dale's full 57-page decision here.
The decision goes into effect at 9 a.m. Friday unless a higher court issues an injunction. Attorney Deborah Ferguson, who represents the couples, says such a decision would likely come from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Ferguson says Dale's decision overturning Idaho's gay marriage ban is "enormously important." "It tells all Idahoans that everyone will be treated fairly with respect to the marriage laws of this state," says Ferguson.
University of Idaho law professor Shaakirrah Sanders told KBSX she expects the court to make its ruling by Thursday evening, if the state requests a stay. A spokesman for Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter says the state will exhaust all legal options to protect the ban.
An email from the governor’s office reads:
“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Today’s decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution.”
Ferguson says the state Monday filed a preemptive request for an injunction in anticipation of Dale's decision.
Despite the uncertainty, the four same-sex couples who sued the state are celebrating Tuesday's historic ruling.
Plaintiff Shelia Robertson was overcome with emotion when she got the news. Robertson and her partner Andrea Altmayer plan to be first in line at the courthouse Friday when the decision goes into effect. “I’ve been with Andrea for 16 years. We’ve wanted to get married. We have a beautiful 4-year-old boy together and to be part of this is amazing and I’m overwhelmed,” says Robertson.
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