News
1 min

Idaho’s gay-marriage ban struck down

Judge Candy W Dale declared state’s marriage laws unconstitutional

“Idaho’s marriage laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental right to marry and relegate their families to a stigmatized, second-class status without sufficient reason for doing so,” Judge Candy W Dale ruled May 13. Credit: id.uscourts.gov

“Idaho’s marriage laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental right to marry and relegate their families to a stigmatized, second-class status without sufficient reason for doing so. These laws do not withstand any applicable level of constitutional scrutiny,” a federal district court in Boise has ruled.

As with other decisions in cases where same-sex couples have challenged state bans on gay marriage, Judge Candy W Dale declared Idaho’s marriage laws unconstitutional because they violate gay couples’ equal-protection rights under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Dale adds that proponents of the ban “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.”

Dale also rules that gay couples can apply for marriage licences from 9am on May 16 (Friday).

Reacting to this latest ruling, Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, writes, “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.”
 
Idaho Governor CL “Butch” Otter says he intends to appeal the ruling.