John M. Becker

Marriage Equality Round-Up: Idaho, Kansas

Filed By John M. Becker | October 31, 2014 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, Idaho, Kansas, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

wedding_rings.jpgWe've got marriage equality news out of Idaho and Kansas today.

First off, we go to Kansas, where a federal judge will hear arguments at 3:30 Eastern/2:30 Central in the ACLU's challenge to that state's marriage discrimination amendment. The AP reports:

The hearing Friday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Kansas City, Kansas, is on the ACLU's request for an order to force Kansas to allow gay marriages.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit for two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses in Douglas and Sedgwick counties after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five other states seeking to preserve gay marriage bans.

The ACLU is seeking a temporary injunction to bring Kansas into line with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals precedents in other cases.

The pro-marriage equality ruling in Utah's Kitchen v. Herbert is controlling precedent in Kansas.

Marriage equality news from Idaho is after the break.

In Idaho, C.L. "Butch" Otter, the state's twice-married, anti-gay Republican governor, pledged in a debate last night that he would continue his fruitless fight against marriage equality in the Gem State, despite the mounting costs to Idaho taxpayers (currently running in the tens of thousands of dollars). Huffington Post reports:

"I'm not ready to surrender to a few folks in black robes," Otter said during a gubernatorial debate. "I'm not ready to surrender the will of the people in the state of Idaho, as they expressed in 2006 in an overwhelming majority."

The Supreme Court ruled this month that same-sex marriage could proceed in Idaho, a response to an appeal to a federal court decision striking down the state's ban. Otter has since spent $10,000 on outside attorneys to keep appealing. His fight on the matter has cost the state about $90,000 in total.

During Thursday's debate, Otter said his job is to defend "the entire Constitution," and that states should decide marriage laws, not the federal government. When Idaho adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning same-sex marriage, "those people were voting for a value that they had and they were expressing that," he said.

John Bujak, the Libertarian gubernatorial nominee, said Otter was fighting "a losing battle."

"At this point, the ship has sailed," Bujak said. "You're not going to win that battle in federal court. You might as well start arguing about interracial marriage."

Meanwhile, legal, federally-recognized same-sex marriages continue in Idaho.

Otter also bizarrely promised to sign a bill banning sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing, jobs, and education, if such a measure ever reached his desk. (Equality advocates have been protesting at the statehouse demanding such a measure for months, to no avail.) Otter does not appear to have mentioned whether or not he'd sign a bill that also included protections for gender identity.

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