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Federal Judge Hears Arguments on Idaho Gay Marriage Ban, Promises Swift Ruling: VIDEO

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale (pictured) heard three motions in a case challenging Idaho's ban on gay marriage today, and promised a swift ruling. The state filed to dismiss the case and both sides filed for summary judgment.

DaleThe case was brought by four gay couples who sued after Ada County refused to issue marriage licenses or recognize marriages from other states. The couples argue that the state's ban violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The AP reports:

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, a defendant, says states have the right to define marriage as they see fit. He contends that the same-sex marriage ban is vital to Idaho's goal of creating "stable, husband-wife unions for the benefit of their children."

The Spokesman Review adds:

“Idaho has sufficiently good reasons for maintaining the man-woman marriage institution,” Thomas Perry, attorney for Gov. Butch Otter, told the court. “When you look at benefits, what more compelling interest does the state of Idaho have than securing an ideal child-rearing environment for future generations?”

In the front row of the audience, one of the plaintiffs in the case cried silent tears. “We have a 4-year-old son together,” Shelia Robertson explained afterwards, holding hands with partner Andrea Altmayer. “We’ve been together for 16 years, and it took us a long time, it was a very careful decision for us to have our boy. We love our boy. … The fact that I don’t have any rights to him at all – it’s frightening every day.”

Dale said she would rule in the "relatively near future" according to the AP.

Watch a report from KTVB Boise, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. No one had ever explained how denying same sex marriage benefits makes straight marriages better or stronger.

    Posted by: Fpcinnyc | May 5, 2014 10:42:11 PM


  2. Otter. What a strange name. It is also "butch".

    Posted by: simon | May 5, 2014 11:25:15 PM


  3. Yes indeed, what more compelling reason can a government have than to provide parents raising kids the support to do that was well as possible.

    And the plaintiff's marriage in no way takes anything away from any kid being raised by straight parents. Denying that marriage most definitely takes a LOT away from the child the gay couple is raising.

    If providing a good child-rearing environment is any of the government's business in the first place, then it's an argument FOR gay marriage, not for denying it.

    Posted by: Lymis | May 6, 2014 7:25:24 AM


  4. "what more compelling interest does the state of Idaho have than securing an ideal child-rearing environment for future generations?"

    The state doesn't have a right to interfere with marriage in order to enforce its notion of an "ideal" child-rearing environment. Nor do they even really pursue that goal. As Judge Friedman noted in the recent Michigan case (DeBoer v. Snyder):

    "the state defendants fail to explain why Michigan law does not similarly exclude certain classes of heterosexual couples from marrying whose children persistently have had “sub-optimal” developmental outcomes....Taking [Michigan's] position to its logical conclusion, the empirical evidence at hand should require that only rich, educated, suburban-dwelling, married Asians may marry, to the exclusion of all other heterosexual couples."

    And why should a state be empowered to enforce an "ideal" child-rearing environment, anyway, when an adequate environment should do? In fact, SCOTUS has been clear that the right to marriage is so fundamental that it even overrides a state's desire for even adequate child rearing. A state can't prevent a noncustodial parent from (re)marrying if their existing children wouldn't have adequate financial support (Zablocki v. Redhail). A state can't prevent a prison inmate from marrying (Turner v. Safley).

    So Idaho wants the rule to be "ideal" child rearing when same-sex couples apply—a rule those couples conveniently fail by Idaho's definition—but it doesn't and can't require straight couples to provide even merely adequate child rearing.

    Posted by: JJ | May 6, 2014 2:53:55 PM


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