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article imageIdaho judge reverses same-sex marriage ban

By William Suphan     May 14, 2014 in Politics
Boise - A judge in Boise, Idaho has overturned an ban on gay marriage which has been in effect since 2006. Couples may be able to get married this Friday.
Idaho has joined Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Texas and Michigan in finding that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press.
"From the deathbed to the tax form, property rights to parental rights, the witness stand to the probate court, the legal status of 'spouse' provides unique and undeniably important protections," said U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale upon striking down the ban. Her ruling added that neither tradition nor majority opinion trumps the fact that marriage is a fundamental right of all citizens.
The ban has caused numerous problems for same-sex couples who married in other states, but whose marriages were not legally recognized in Idaho. Lori and Sharene Watsen, who married in New York in 2011, must obtain power of attorney every six months in order to consent to their son's medical treatment.
Dale has ruled that the state must start issuing marriage licenses as of this Friday at 9 a.m. Governor C.L. Otter said he plans to appeal the case, stating "In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, Today's decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court."
Dale emphasized, "The Plaintiffs are entitled to extraordinary remedies because of their extraordinary injuries. Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love."
Judges often cite the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling that laws which forbid the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages are unconstitutional.
Amber Beierle, who plans to wed her partner Rachel Robertson this Friday, choked back tears as she said, "I don't think people understand what that means to native Idahoans who love this state and want to stay in this state but who want to be heard. It feels amazing."
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