Judge strikes down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban

Judge strikes down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban

Credit: Paul Boehlke/KTVB

The defendants leaving the federal courthouse in Boise.

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by KTVB and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 3:12 AM

BOISE -- A federal judge has issued an injunction that will block enforcement of Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage, effective Friday morning.

U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale issued a memorandum decision and order this afternoon in the case of four same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Idaho’s marriage laws, which voters approved as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006.

Gov. Butch Otter is appealing the injunction. Unless a higher court grants that appeal, Idaho must allow same-sex marriage, and recognition of existing legal same-sex marriages after 9 a.m. Friday.

Here is the full statement from Gov. Otter:

“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.”

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said he would consult with the governor on the state's appeal.

Four Idaho couples filed the lawsuit challenging the marriage ban in November, against the governor and Ada County Clerk Chris Rich. The couples are Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers; Lori and Sharene Watsen; Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer; and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson.

Latta and Ehlers married in 2008 in California, and the Watsens married in 2011 in New York. Both couples have children and say Idaho wrongly treats Ehlers as a legal stranger to her grandchildren and requires Lori Watsen to obtain a new power of attorney every six months so she can have legal authority to consent to medical treatment for her son.

Their attorney, Deborah Ferguson, said the ruling recognized that the families are part of Idaho's community and that they deserved the same protections and respect as other Idaho families.

"The court's ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for everyone who cares about freedom and fairness," Ferguson said in a statement.

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