How The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling 'Changes Nothing' For Idaho

Jun 26, 2015

The Supreme Court’s decision Friday makes same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. But it’s been legal in Idaho since last fall.

“It changes nothing for Idaho, nothing at all,” Shaakirrah Sanders says.

Sanders teaches law at the University of Idaho College of Law. She says what’s important for Idaho is that now the situation that has existed for months cannot change. Same-sex couples don’t have to worry that their marriages will be invalidated. 

There is a three week period, though, during which states can ask the court to reconsider. Idaho’s Governor and Attorney General have not said if they will take action in that time, but Sanders says they might.

“It is very conceivable that a state would ask for a reconsideration,” she says. “It’s inconceivable that the court would actually grant that request.”

Sanders says the court made its feelings quite clear that marriage is as fundamental a right for same-sex couples as it is for opposite sex couples, and that the majority opinion won't change.

Sanders says there’s no way for states to pass laws to get around recognizing same sex marriages and allowing them to take place. However, she says there are some unresolved questions that go along with legalizing same sex marriage nationwide.

“[For example] whether individuals that are state employees – who’ve traditionally married individuals – have to marry a same sex couple in their role as a state employee. Those types of questions may still be out there,” she says.

Sanders says states like Idaho –  where many politicians oppose same sex marriage – might pass laws around the issue. Those she says would have to face their own constitutional scrutiny. 

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