A federal district court in Boise, Idaho issued a decision today striking down Idaho’s marriage equality ban and ordered the state to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states. The court’s order takes effect at 9:00 a.m. Mountain time on May 16.
The case was brought by four same-sex couples represented by Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale issued a memorandum decision and order this afternoon in the case of four same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Idaho’s marriage laws, which voters approved as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006.
The couples argued that Idaho’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling last June that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. The decision marks the 11th federal court since last summer’s Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, including federal courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The couples are Susan Latta and Traci Ehlers, and Lori and Sharene Watsen, who are legally married and asked Idaho to recognize their marriages, and Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson, who seek to marry.
Gov. Butch Otter is appealing the injunction. Unless a higher court grants that appeal, Idaho must allow same-sex marriage, and recognition of existing legal same-sex marriages after 9 a.m. Friday.