| 03.18.2018

Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional


A federal judge ruled Idaho’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional Tuesday in a 57-page decision from U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale.

In the decision she wrote, “This conclusion reaffirms a longstanding maxim underlying our system of government — a state’s broad authority to regulate matters of state concern does not include the power to violate an individual’s protected constitutional rights … Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental right to marry and relegate their families to a stigmatized, second-class status without sufficient reason for doing so. These laws do not withstand any applicable level of constitutional scrutiny.”

The decision is effective at 9 a.m. Friday, at which point Ada County Clerk Chris Rich told the Idaho Statesman he plans to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter filed a pre-emptive motion Tuesday, requesting an immediate stay (a temporary stop of the judicial proceeding by the court) in response to the ruling.

“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” Otter said in his written response to the ruling. “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.”

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