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Same-sex marriage in Idaho

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Same-sex marriage became legal in the U.S. state of Idaho on October 15, 2014. The state previously had a statute that prohibited the licensing of same-sex marriages and denied recognizing same-sex marriage from other jurisdictions since 1996. It had added a similar ban on same-sex marriage to its constitution in 2006.

In May 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho in the case of Latta v. Otter found Idaho's statutes and state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but enforcement of that ruling was stayed pending appeal. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling on October 7, 2014. After further delays, on October 13, the Ninth Circuit lifted its stay of the district court's order enjoining Idaho officials from enforcing the state's ban on same-sex marriage, effective October 15 at 9 a.m. PDT.


Statutes Edit

After the Hawaii Supreme Court seemed poised to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States for the first time in Baehr v. Miike (1993), the Idaho Legislature amended its marriage laws in 1995 to specifically specify that a marriage was to be between a man and a woman. The changes took effect January 1, 1996. Fearing it would have to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in Hawaii, Idaho further amended its marriage laws to prohibit recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages in 1996. Governor Phil Batt signed the legislation, which took immediate effect on March 18, 1996.[1]

Constitutional amendment Edit

On February 11, 2004, the Idaho House of Representatives, by a 53 to 17 vote, approved of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and its "legal equivalent" in the state. The Idaho State Senate failed to vote on the amendment.[2] On February 2, 2005, the Idaho State Senate, by a 21-14 vote, failed to approve of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any "legal status similar to that of marriage."[3] On February 6, 2006, the Idaho House of Representatives, by a 53 to 17 vote, approved of Idaho Amendment 2 (2006), a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any "domestic legal union" in the state. On February 15, 2006, the Idaho State Senate, by a 26-9 vote, approved the constitutional amendment. On November 7, 2006, voters approved a constitutional amendment.[4][5]

The amendment was found to be unconstitutional on May 13, 2014 by a federal district court. The ruling was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on October 7, 2014. The Supreme Court declined to issue a permanent stay of the decision.

Federal lawsuit Edit

Four Idaho lesbian couples filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in November 2013, challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. On May 13, 2014, U.S. Chief Magistrate Candy W. Dale ruled in Latta v. Otter that Idaho's constitutional and statutory prohibitions against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. She wrote:[6] Template:Quote The state appealed the ruling, and on May 20 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed enforcement of Dale's ruling pending the outcome of that appeal and ordered the case heard on an expedited basis.[7]

On October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the state's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, finding the ban violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution right to equal protection.[8][9] Idaho's county clerks prepared to process marriage licenses for same-sex couples the following day, October 8,[10][11] until Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in response to a petition from state officials, granted an emergency stay of the Ninth Circuit's implementation of its decision.[12] On October 10, 2014, Justice Kennedy, after consulting with the other members of the Supreme Court, denied the request for a stay and vacated the temporary stay.[13]

On October 10, the Latta plaintiffs asked the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay of the district court's order that it had imposed on May 20.[14] The Ninth Circuit gave the parties until October 13 to reply.[15] On October 13, the Ninth Circuit lifted its stay of the district court's order enjoining Idaho officials from enforcing the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[16]

Governor Otter announced that he would no longer contest the ruling in Latta and that state agencies would comply when the Ninth Circuit requires Idaho to provide marriage rights to same-sex couples.[17]

Marriage licenses issued Edit

Latah County issued six marriage licenses to same-sex couples on October 10, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay on the Ninth Circuit ruling in Latta but before the Ninth Circuit issued its mandate ordering the state to comply with the ruling.[18]

On October 15, 2014, approximately 100 same-sex couples obtained a marriage license at the Ada county clerk's offices.[19]

Public opinion Edit

A survey in October 2014 of 522 likely voters by Public Policy Polling found that 57% thought that same-sex marriage should not be allowed in Idaho, 38% thought it should and 5% were unsure. 39% said they supported same-sex marriage, 30% supported civil unions and 29% said there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship. 46% thought that the legalization of same-sex marriage would not make a difference to their lives, 41% said the legalization of same-sex marriage would have a negative impact on their lives and 12% thought it would have a positive impact on their lives.[20]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Dale, Candy. Memorandum Decision and Order. Retrieved on May 13, 2014.
  2. HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9
  3. SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 101
  4. HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 2
  5. CNN: 2006 Key Ballot Measures,; Idaho State Legislature: Article III, Section 28
  6. Pearce, Matthew. "Idaho same-sex marriage ban struck down by federal judge", May 13, 2014. Retrieved on May 13, 2014. 
  7. "9th Circuit Grants Stay in Idaho Same-Sex Marriage Ban Case", Boise Weekly, May 20, 2014. Retrieved on October 11, 2014. 
  8. Nevada, Idaho Gay-Marriage Bans Ruled Illegal by Court
  9. ORDER. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  10. Same-sex marriage begins in Idaho as 9th Circuit lifts stay
  11. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/10/07/3415288_gay-marriage-bans-in-idaho-nevada.html?sp=/99/1687/&rh=1
  12. "Otter gets last-minute stay to block Idaho gay marriages", Spokeman-Review, October 8, 2014. Retrieved on October 10, 2014. 
  13. "Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Same-Sex Marriages in Idaho", New York Times. Retrieved on October 10, 2014. 
  14. Motion to Dissolve Stay of District Court Order. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved on October 11, 2014.
  15. Order setting response to motion, October 10, 2014. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved on October 11, 2014.
  16. Order dissolving stay, October 13, 2014. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved on October 13, 2014.
  17. "Otter says Idaho will comply with any 9th Circuit order on gay marriage, 'We're a nation of laws'", The Spokesman. Retrieved on 11 October 2014. 
  18. "1 Idaho county issues gay marriage licenses", October 10, 2014. Retrieved on October 12, 2014. 
  19. "Gay marriage arrives in conservative stronghold Idaho", ABC News, October 15, 2014. Retrieved on October 16, 2014. 
  20. Idaho Governor’s Race Close, but Otter has Room to Grow. Public Policy Polling (October 14, 2014). Retrieved on October 15, 2014.

External links Edit


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