John M. Becker

BREAKING: Idaho Marriage Ban Struck Down

Filed By John M. Becker | May 13, 2014 8:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, Idaho, lawsuit, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, NCLR, same-sex marriage, unconstitutional

idaho-map.jpgTonight, the promised "quick ruling" in the NCLR-led case challenging the constitutionality of Idaho's marriage discrimination amendment came -- and U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale has struck it down.

The Idaho Statesman reports:

In her 57-page decision, Dale stated, "Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love."

Gov. Butch Otter responded in a written statement: "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."

Judge Dale did not stay her ruling, but it does not go into effect until Friday, giving the state time to seek one from a higher court. Today Gov. Otter also filed a pre-emptive motion requesting an immediate stay in the event the state lost. In it, he promises to defend marriage discrimination before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the United States Supreme Court. Judge Dale has not yet ruled on that motion.

Evan Wolfson of the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry issued the following statement in response to this evening's ruling:

"Today's ruling from the federal court in Idaho is the latest in more than a dozen rulings unanimously holding marriage discrimination unconstitutional. From Idaho to Arkansas, Utah to Michigan, the courts are affirming that there is no good reason for government to deny marriage to committed couples. As gay couples and their families begin to share in the joy and security of the freedom to marry, hearts and minds are opening, discrimination's barriers are falling, and we're moving our country to the right side of history. As the federal appellate courts now take up these marriage cases, America is ready for the freedom to marry."

UPDATE 1: Here's the money quote from the ruling:

The Plaintiffs are entitled to extraordinary remedies because of their extraordinary injuries. Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.

The Defendants offered no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite-sex marriages or the well-being of children. Without proof, the Defendants' justifications echo the unsubstantiated fears that could not prop up the anti-miscegenation laws and rigid gender roles of days long past. Then as now, it is the duty of the courts to apply the law to the facts in evidence. Here, the facts are clear and the law teaches that marriage is a fundamental right of all citizens, which neither tradition nor the majority can deny.

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection lie at the core of our constitutional system. While the Supreme Court has not expressly decided the issues of this case, it has over the decades marked the path that leads to today's decision. "[T]he history of our Constitution . . . is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded."... Slow as the march toward equality may seem, it is never in vain.

UPDATE 2: Idaho's marriage discrimination amendment was co-authored by none other than hate group spokesman Bryan Fischer, one of the most infamous and vile homophobic bigots in America. And he is PISSED. Details, and a copy of Judge Dale's ruling, after the jump.

Fischer is throwing an epic tantrum over on Twitter. Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God has the screengrab:

bryan-fischer-twitter-tantrum-idaho.jpg
Links here, here, and here. And here's Fischer's Twitter profile; the tirade appears to be ongoing.

There you have our opponents in a nutshell, folks: when their hatred prevails it's divinely ordained by God; when they fail -- as happens almost constantly these days -- it's time for resistance and insurrection.

Go figure. Here's my response to Fischer's sob-fest:

And now I'm going to have dinner with my husband. That's right, Bryan: husband. Buh-bye.

Below is a copy of Judge Dale's ruling, via Equality Case Files.

1:13-cv-00482 #97 by Equality Case Files


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