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Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriage in Seven New States: VIDEO

Holder

Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.

Said Holder:

“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.  We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.

He continued:

The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic.  But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay.  Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country.  And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on.  If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality. 

Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.

In addition to the seven states above, marriage equality has also come to West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona (announced earlier today).

Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)

A federal court ruling in the challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage ban is expected Monday, with Governor Matt Mead saying the state will respect whatever decision is made.


Marriage Equality Arrives In Idaho: PHOTOS

IDAHO2

As we reported yesterday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter has "for now" agreed to let same-sex marriage begin in Idaho following the 9th Circuit's mandate that Idaho rescind its marriage ban. Today, hundreds of couples have shown up around the state to say "I do" and make their unions legal. Reporter Christina Marface tweeted earlier that she has spoken with "several couples who say there's still fear in the backs of their minds something will block licenses in #Idaho." The fears were no doubt prompted by last week's stay from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that halted Idaho from recognizing same-sex unions just as it was poised to do so. However, the marriages in Idaho today thus far seem to have gone off without a hitch. 

As we follow this developing story, check out some photos of the highly anticipated day for equality, AFTER THE JUMP...

[Photo via Twitter]

Continue reading "Marriage Equality Arrives In Idaho: PHOTOS" »


Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Confirms Same-Sex Marriage Will Start Tomorrow, Won't Comment On Potential Appeal

OtterIdaho Governor Butch Otter has announced that same-sex marriages will be allowed to begin tomorrow in the Gem State as planned. As BuzzFeed reports, Otter's office issued a statement that made sure to note the governor's continued belief in "traditional marriage":

“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its mandate for enforcement of decisions overturning the Idaho Constitution’s prohibition on same-sex marriage effective at 10 a.m. MDT, 9 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, October 15. I continue to believe that the federal courts are mistaken in abandoning the sanctity of traditional marriage and in undermining the will of Idaho voters and each state’s right to define marriage. But we are civil society that respects the rule of law. We have done all we can through the courts for now to defend traditional marriage in Idaho.”

However, Otter is unlikely to end his battle against marriage equality here. As to "whether Otter will seek further review of the ruling from the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, something lawyers for Otter have suggested in prior filings that he will do", a spokesman, referring to the statement issued today, said, “We are saying nothing more than that.”

Interestingly, Otter's entrenchment on the subject of same-sex marriage places him at odds with his state's attorney general, also a Republican, who believes the fight is essentially over:

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden had acknowledged on Monday in a court filing that the state would not be able to meet the standards for halting the marriages during any appeal. On Tuesday, Wasden’s spokesman, Todd Dvorak, told BuzzFeed News, “Attorney General [Wasden] currently has no plans for filing any legal challenge today or tomorrow.”


Same-Sex Marriages in Idaho to Begin Wednesday After Federal Appeals Court Lifts Stay

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will lift a stay of their ruling striking down Idaho's gay marriage ban despite the governor's request that it be kept in place, and same-sex marriages can begin Wednesday, the Idaho Statesman reports:

OtterAccording to court documents filed Monday, the court's decision comes after Idaho's attorney general dropped its opposition to the stay. Meanwhile, Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter maintained his resistance in a separate Monday court filing.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says his office, along with Ada County Clerk Christopher Rich and the state of Idaho, do not oppose lifting the stay. Wasden said that does not mean the state will not pursue further legal action.

Otter, however, repeated his prior arguments in Monday's filing, implying he will continue fighting gay marriage in Idaho.

Otter also added that approving gay marriage would "dissuade" Idaho voters from participating in elections because it would allow the federal government to overturn state laws.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from Otter to stay the 9th Circuit ruling.

Said Otter last Friday:

“The Supreme Court’s order lifting Justice Kennedy’s stay effectively allows same-sex marriage in Idaho as soon as the 9th Circuit directs compliance with its decision. I disagree with the court’s conclusion, which negates the 2006 vote of the people of Idaho, is contrary to the values of most Idahoans, and undermines fundamental states’ rights.  But we are a nation of laws. Idaho now should proceed with civility and in an orderly manner to comply with any forthcoming order from the 9th Circuit.”

Read Otter's October 13 response HERE.

Read Wasden's October 13 response HERE.


Supreme Court Lifts Stay on 9th Circuit Mandate Striking Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban

IdahoThe Supreme Court has lifted Idaho's stay on a 9th Circuit mandate striking down the state's gay marriage ban, USA Today reports:

The order allows a federal appeals court decision issued Tuesday to take effect in Idaho, just as it did in Nevada. Three other states without gay marriage -- Arizona, Montana and Alaska -- are impacted by the ruling, but state officials there have not yet capitulated.

Gay couples should be able to get married shortly. Stay tuned....

Update: Latah County has begun issuing marriage licenses to gay couples!

Update II: Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has just released the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s order lifting Justice Kennedy’s stay effectively allows same-sex marriage in Idaho as soon as the 9th Circuit directs compliance with its decision. I disagree with the court’s conclusion, which negates the 2006 vote of the people of Idaho, is contrary to the values of most Idahoans, and undermines fundamental states’ rights.  But we are a nation of laws. Idaho now should proceed with civility and in an orderly manner to comply with any forthcoming order from the 9th Circuit.”


Gov. Butch Otter: 'Idaho Is Pro-Traditional Marriage and I'm Not Going to Do Anything to Put That In Danger' - VIDEO

OtterGubernatorial candidates in Idaho traded barbs over gay marriage and LGBT-inclusive discrimination protections during yesterday's debate - with Governor Butch Otter pledging to continue defending his state's 2006 voter approved amendment to the Idaho Constitution banning gay marriage.

Said Otter:

"In 2006, Idaho looked at it and said we are going to change our constitution. And they asked the people of Idaho and go to the polls and vote for a constitutional amendment, Article Three, Section Twenty-eight of the state constitution, to define legal marriage in Idaho, as a union between one man and one woman. And from that all of the detractors, and probably including the author of that question, that all of a sudden Idaho is anti-gay. That we are anti-something. We are not. Idaho is pro traditional marriage. And I am not going to do anything to put that in danger."

BalukoffOtter's Democratic challenger, A.J. Balukoff, criticized that position, saying the amendment was discriminatory:

"No matter how many of our citizens vote to pass the law, we cannot pass a law that violates the United States Constitution. This is about discrimination, treating all people with fairness and respect. Regardless of what our personal beliefs may be, we still need to treat them equally."

Libertarian candidate John Bujak, meanwhile, appeared to take the middle ground on the issue - saying that while he's personally opposed to gay marriage he recognizes those types of views don't hold up in court.

Watch a video of the gay marriage portion of the debate, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)  

Boise Weekly adds:

Balukoff and Otter also widened their differences on the debate over Add the Words, the effort to add the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

"The governor and the Idaho legislature represent ALL the people of Idaho," said Balukoff. "To stonewall this issue for eight years is not acceptable. We should grant a legislative hearing and strengthen the human rights act to add the four words."

AddthewordsOtter said he had met with Add the Words organizers on two occasions during the 2014 legislative session and had expected a legislative hearing to surface.

"That is, until their antics started up," said Otter, referring to the multiple arrests of Add the Words advocates at the Statehouse. "I can understand the angst of the legislature and their reluctance to take up the issue."

Otter said a hearing on the matter is expected during the next legislative session. 

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit upheld a ruling striking down Idaho's gay marriage ban. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily stayed the Idaho ruling, however. 

Continue reading "Gov. Butch Otter: 'Idaho Is Pro-Traditional Marriage and I'm Not Going to Do Anything to Put That In Danger' - VIDEO" »


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