May 142014
 

I was born and raised in Idaho, though I got out as quickly as I could (at age 19… a long, long time ago). I never thought I would see this in my lifetime:

U.S. judge overturns Idaho ban on gay marriage

(Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge struck down Idaho’s ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, saying it relegated same-sex couples to a second-class status in violation of constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.

The ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale was the latest in a string of decisions by federal judges against state bans on same-sex matrimony that, if upheld by higher courts, would sharply broaden access to marriage for U.S. gay couples.

Dale said her decision would go into effect on Friday at 9 a.m. local time, unless put on hold by a higher court.

Marriage rights have been extended to gay couples in 17 states and the District of Columbia in a trend that has gained momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits.

That decision, which struck down part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, has been cited by a number of federal judges, including Dale, in subsequent opinions overturning state bans on gay matrimony.

So, barring a stay on Judge Dale’s decision by a higher court, which has been requested by Idaho Governor Butch Otter (yes, that really is his name), gays and lesbians will be able to get married in that state starting at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.

Amazing and wonderful things are happening in this country. If we’re not careful, we won’t be a third world country for much longer.

UPDATE:

Judge refuses to stay Idaho same-sex marriages

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal magistrate judge on Wednesday rejected a request from Idaho’s governor to put same-sex weddings on hold while he appeals her ruling from a day earlier that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote that the appeal is unlikely to succeed so there’s no reason to keep the state from granting marriage licenses to gay couples starting Friday.

Dale noted she already found Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s arguments lacked legal merit when she struck down the ban Tuesday evening. The judge said allowing Idaho to continue enforcing its laws against same-sex marriage would irreparably harm the four couples who sued over the ban, along with other gay couples.

“Nor does the public interest favor preserving a status quo that deprives individuals of their constitutional rights,” Dale wrote. “The court finds a stay pending appeal is not warranted.”

UPDATE #2:

9th Circuit Court temporarily halts Idaho same-sex marriages

BOISE — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s request for a temporary stay while it considers the state’s request for a longer stay pending appeal of the lower court’s ruling overturning Idaho same-sex marriage ban.

“The district court’s May 13, 2014 order is temporarily stayed pending this court’s disposition of appellants’ emergency motions for a stay pending appeal,” declared the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an order released shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday.

The temporary stay will remain in effect until the 9th Circuit Court decides whether to issue a full stay pending appeal.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale on Tuesday struck down Idaho’s 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages. Her order was to take effect 9 a.m. Friday.

So, at least for the time being, Idaho remains in the dark ages.