Idaho Hub

Idaho Governor And Attorney General File File Petitions to Supreme Court Hoping to Stop Gay Marriages

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Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden have both submitted petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of challenging same-sex marriage’s legality in the state. Though the petitions were filed separately, both argue that gay marriage in Idaho could have far reaching consequences that affect other states.

In the past Governor Otter has made clear his intentions to continuously fight against Idaho’s steady progress towards equality, even if it means wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Otter’s petition, which was filed earlier this week, argues that Idaho’s situation is unique from those of other states because of the couples responsible for initially challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Two of the four lesbians involved in the challenge, Otter points out, were married out of state and seeking to have their marriage recognized. Otter’s petition also falls back on the widely discredited idea that children thrive better under the care of opposite-sex parents.

"It is important that at least one of the cases this court considers on the merits be a case in which the traditional definition of marriage has been defended with the most robust defense available," wrote Gene Schaerr, one of Utah’s lead legal advisors in its fight against gay marriage. "This is that case."

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Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s petition fell back upon the idea that the reversal of Idaho’s ban was a governmental incursion against state’s rights.

"This case presents the Court with the opportunity to resolve a divisive split on a question of nationwide importance,” he explained in the petition. “Whether the United States Constitution now prohibits states from maintaining the traditional definition of civil marriage, i.e., between one man and one woman.”

Idaho Must Pay More Than $400,000 In Attorney Fees In Same-Sex Marriage Case

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f13b96970b-250wiAfter losing a battle to keep in place its discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, the state of Idaho has been ordered to pay the legal fees incurred by same-sex couples who challenged the state in order to receive their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights. The Spokesman-Review reports:

“There is no dispute that Plaintiffs are the prevailing parties and are therefore entitled to an award of reasonable attorney fees and litigation expenses,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote in an order issued late Friday.

The lawyers had sought $467,843; the state’s lawyers had argued for cutting that by more than half to $204,049. But Dale ruled that with only a few exceptions, the legal team led by Boise attorney Deborah Ferguson was entitled to the amounts it claimed, setting the payment at $401,663.

“In order to ensure that lawyers would be willing to represent persons with legitimate civil rights grievances, Congress determined that it would be necessary to compensate lawyers for all time reasonably expended on a case,” the judge wrote, quoting a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

CandyJudge Dale (pictured right) in May ruled against the marriage ban and in favor of the plaintiffs.

Adding to the over $400,000 the state must now pay out to the plantiffs' attorneys is the $87,000 the state spent defending the ban. That figure does not include any of the additional cost the state will incur as a result of Governor Butch Otter's request made to the U.S. Supreme Court last week that it not consider the question of marriage equality until it has a chance to review the case at play in Idaho as Otter believes it provides the "best vehicle" by which the Court could resolve “the marriage-litigation wave in all respects."

As for Otter's comments on the latest bill to hit the statehouse?

"Otter said Monday that he wasn’t ready to comment on the order and planned to consult with the members of Idaho’s Constitutional Defense Council, which oversees a fund that’s been tapped six times in the past decade to cover similar awards of attorney fees in constitutional law cases. The fund currently has a balance of more than $1.7 million; lawmakers added another $1 million last year, at Otter’s urging."

Gov. Butch Otter Asks SCOTUS to Delay Marriage Consideration Until It Hears from Idaho

Idaho Governor Butch Otter filed an amicus brief today asking the U.S. Supreme Court to delay consideration of same-sex marriage until it hears from Idaho as he believes the case would be the "best vehicle" by which the Court could resolve “the marriage-litigation wave in all respects," the Spokesman-Review reports:

OtterOtter lists several reasons why he thinks Idaho’s case is the “best vehicle” for the whole same-sex marriage issue to be decided. Among them: Idaho’s includes both the question of in-state marriages and recognition of out-of-state marriages; it would test the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ application of a heightened standard of scrutiny for discrimination based on sexual orientation; it brings up religious liberty issues; and Idaho officials, unlike those in many states, have mounted a vigorous defense of their ban on gay marriage.

Otter’s legal brief cites “the enormous societal risks accompanying a genderless-marriage regime,” and says, “Common sense and a wealth of social-science data teach that children do best emotionally, socially, intellectually and economically when reared in an intact home by both biological parents.”

Attorneys Gene Schaerr and Tom Perry, lawyers for Otter, filed the brief in five marriage cases before the Supreme Court challenging rulings by the U.S. Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit (Idaho is in the Ninth Circuit).

SupremesSCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston explains:

It was in that form because Idaho has not formally appealed to the Justices, while it awaits the rehearing plea it has pending at the Ninth Circuit.


As of now, the Court has five pending cases on the same-sex marriage issue.  Four are petitions challenging a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, upholding marriage bans in four states (Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky).  The fifth case is from Louisiana, seeking review of a federal judge’s ruling upholding a ban in that state.

The Louisiana case is now scheduled for the Justices’ first look at the next Conference, on January 9, according to a scheduling note Wednesday on the Court’s electronic docket.  That docket also indicated that the four petitions from the Sixth Circuit are being handled as a group, although they have not yet been distributed to the Justices.  There is one more date on which the cases could be sent to the Justices for consideration on January 9: next Tuesday.

Otter wants the Court to wait for Idaho's appeal before deciding which cases to hear, and then add Idaho's case to the review process.

Read the amicus brief below:

Gov. Otter Supreme Court Amicus Brief by Equality Case Files

Idaho Republican Party Toe-Taps Larry Craig to Serve as Finance Chair: VIDEO

CraigThe Idaho Republican Party has hired former U.S. Senator Larry Craig as its financial chair of its executive committee, the Associated Press reports.

The news is somewhat surprising, considering Craig was ordered last month to pay the U.S. treasury almost $250,000 for improper use of campaign funds defending his infamous 2007 Minneapolis airport restroom cruising. 

No word yet on whether the job offer was communicated to Craig via a game of bathroom footsie. 

Check out the The Washington Post's recreation of the stall incident, filmed at the actual scene of the "crime", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Idaho Republican Party Toe-Taps Larry Craig to Serve as Finance Chair: VIDEO" »

Deceased Transgender Woman Presented As A Man During Wake; Friends, Mentors Furious

Friends of a transgender woman who died suddenly in October were shocked to see their friend presented as a man in an open casket during her funeral service reports The Miami Herald. Jennifer Gable, born Geoff Gable, died suddenly on her shift with Wells Fargo as a customer service coordinator; an aneurysm is suspected of killing the otherwise healthy woman. Gable's friends attended the funeral, but upon seeing Gable's body in the casket they found themselves disgusted with what had been done to Gable's body.

Gable“I am disgusted. A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as Geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”Said Gable's friend, Stacy Dee Hudson, in a post on Facebook:

Gable's obituary explicitly referred to her as male, even though Gable legally changed her name to Jennifer long before her death. Meghan Stabler, a board member of the Human Rights Campaign and member of HRC’s National Business Council, expressed disdain for the lack of respect given to Gable's body and identity.

Said Stabler:

“No mention of the woman she knew she was and had lived as for several years. Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father perceived her to be.

"She had done what she needed to do legally to be seen as her authentic self. Her father erased her identity either though ignorance or arrogance, but who knows what the parent was going through?”

Stabler met Gable online after she reached out to her for advice on how to proceed with the transition process. Mike Parke of Magic Valley Funeral Home and Crematory in Twin Falls said Gable’s death certificate listed her as male and buried her accordingly.

Said Parke:

"The death certificate says Geoffrey AKA Jennifer Gable. The last few years she lived as Jennifer. They buried him as Geoff. A tormented situation for all those involved."

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Governor Butch Otter Wins Re-Election In Idaho, Vows Not To Back Down From Gay Marriage Fight: VIDEO


Republican incumbent Butch Otter has been re-elected to Idaho's top office. Otter has been an outspoken opponent of marriage equality despite a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage, a ruling that was upheld when the Supreme Court decided not to take up an appeal of the case. Now, re-invigorated by his victory, Otter has reiterated that he will not be backing down from his anti-equality stance. From KTVB:

The newly re-elected governor vowed not to back down in the fight against gay marriage. Otter said he did not believe any Idahoans purposefully discriminate against gays.

"We don't have anything against the gay lesbian society," he said. "But what we do believe in is traditional marriage. We believe in that to the degree that in 2006 we passed by an overwhelming majority a Constitutional amendment, and we don't change our Constitution on a whim."

Otter also defeated openly gay candidate Steve Pankey of the Constitution Party who was only able to muster 1% of the vote. 

Watch a video on Otter's victory, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Governor Butch Otter Wins Re-Election In Idaho, Vows Not To Back Down From Gay Marriage Fight: VIDEO" »


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