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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Next Up: Gay Marriage in Idaho!

Yet another win for marriage equality, as the Idaho State Journal reports:
[U.S. District Judge Candy] Dale struck down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban in response to a lawsuit from four Idaho couples. Dale said Idaho's law unconstitutionally denies gay and lesbian couples their fundamental right to marry and wrongly stigmatizes their families. She said the state must start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday morning.
In her ruling, Judge Dale wrote:
This case asks a basic and enduring question about the essence of American government: Whether the will of the majority, based as it often is on sincere beliefs and democratic consensus, may trump the rights of a minority. . . .

[T]he dispositive principle in this case is that "fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." The Supreme Court has endorsed this principle again and again. As Justice Robert Jackson so eloquently put it [in 1949]:
The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected. Courts can take no better measure to assure that laws will be just than to require that laws be equal in operation.
This principle resonates today, as 10 federal courts across the country have in recent months reached similar conclusions on the very issues present in this case. Considering many of the same arguments and much of the same law, each of these courts concluded that state laws prohibiting or refusing to recognize same-sex marriage fail to rationally advance legitimate state interests. This judicial consensus was forged from each court’s independent analysis of Supreme Court cases extending from Loving through Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor. The logic of these precedents virtually compels the conclusion that same-sex and opposite-sex couples deserve equal dignity when they seek the benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage. Because Idaho’s Marriage Laws do not withstand any applicable form of constitutional scrutiny, the Court finds they violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Full text of the ruling is here.

This morning, Judge Dale denied Governor Butch Otter's request for a stay; the state will now ask the U.S. Ninth Circuit for a stay.

BTW - Governor Butch Otter??  That's rich.

Wikipedia's marriage map is pretty damn ugly and way confusing, but it reflects accurately the crazy-quilt nature of state laws on marriage equality at present:

Marriage equality states are in dark blue. Click here for a legend and explanatory footnotes.

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