Great news. Yesterday, a federal judge in Idaho lifted that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. NPR has reported:
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled Tuesday that the state’s law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that Idaho must allow gay couples to marry as soon as 9 a.m. Friday.
“Idaho’s Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted,” Dale wrote in a 57-page decision.
Gov. Butch Otter has said he will appeal the case. On Monday, he filed a pre-emptive motion for a stay in case the state lost . . . .
The ruling reverses a ban that has been in place since 2006, when Idaho voters approved a constitutional amendment that restricted marriage between a man and a woman as the only legal domestic union recognized in the state.
In that amendment, Idaho residents reflected the state’s staunchly conservative voter base and the Mormon affiliation of 24% of the state’s population. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come out strongly in favor of traditional marriage between a man and a woman, though there are plenty of Mormons who don’t agree with the Church’s anti-gay activism (this blogger included).
The Idaho decision is the latest in a series of reversals on same-sex marriage, as judges throughout the country — including Utah in December and Arkansas just last Friday — strike down restrictive laws and extend more robust civil rights to gay and lesbian citizens.
Governor Otter has pledged to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court, which is inevitable with or without Idaho.
I’m grateful to be alive in a time when barriers for gay people are coming down across the nation, though it is of course sad to me that my church is heavily invested in continuing to deny basic rights to them.
It is one thing for a religious organization to refuse to perform a wedding for any couple it does not think worthy of an ecclesiastically-sanctioned marriage. It is another thing entirely for that religious organization to deny the couple to right to a civil marriage under the law, with all the privileges afforded under the legal system for married couples in terms of taxes, health care, etc.