A marriage equality supporter holds gay pride and American flags at a demonstration.
Stephen Lam/Reuters

Idaho same-sex marriage ban overturned in federal court


A federal judge has struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage.

One week after hearing oral arguments in the case Latta v. Otter, sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale found the state’s voter-approved amendment that prohibits gay couples from marrying to be unconstitutional. She joins federal judges in several other red states – including Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, and most recently, Arkansas – in overturning similar bans.

Dale ordered clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting on Friday.

In her opinion, Dale wrote that the right to marry is fundamental, one which Idaho’s laws wrongfully deny its gay and lesbian citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court has referenced the fundamental right to marry in at least 10 separate instances – most recently, in the landmark United States v. Windsor decision, which gutted the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for federal agencies to begin recognizing same-sex marriages.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said he intends to appeal the case, the Associated Press reports.

“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” Otter said in a statement. “Today’s decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution.”