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Idaho Couples Can Marry Wednesday

Idaho Couples Can Marry Wednesday

Less than a week after a federal appeals court struck down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, the same court today issued a new order that allows same-sex couples to begin legally marrying in Idaho starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday. 

An order issued Monday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolves a stay previously granted to Idaho officials, who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to place the Ninth Circuit's ruling on hold as the state prepares to appeal that decision. The Supreme Court rejected the state's request without comment Friday afternoon, clearing the way for today's order from the Ninth Circuit. 

Last Tuesday a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit unanimously found Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional in a scathing ruling that flatly rejected antigay arguments the state presented in its attempted defense of the ban. 

Just hours after that ruling came down, attorneys representing Idaho's Republican governor, Butch Otter, asked the Supreme Court for a stay of the Ninth Circuit's ruling, which was initially granted by Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees petitions from the Ninth Circuit. Although Idaho officials announced their intent to appeal their case to the full Ninth Circuit, a request for what is known as an en banc hearing, the Supreme Court vacated its Wednesday order granting that stay Friday afternoon. 

Advocates for the freedom to marry, including group representatives who have been at county clerks' offices for the past week with couples eager to apply for marriage licenses, celebrated today's ruling from the Ninth Circuit.

"Today’s order means that two days from now, all Idahoans will have the freedom to marry," said Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which represented the same-sex couples in the case that is bringing marriage equality to Idaho. "At long last, all Idaho families will enjoy the dignity, security, and protection that marriage provides. We thank the brave plaintiff couples who had the courage to challenge these exclusionary laws and congratulate them on this historic victory."

Idaho will become the 30th state in the U.S., along with the District of Columbia, to fully embrace marriage equality on Wednesday, continuing a breakneck pace of legal victories that saw 10 new states added to the marriage equality column last week alone. 

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