What’s the next best thing to a wedding? A rally, of course.
OK, maybe not quite, but that’s what hundreds decided to do in Boise, Idaho, Friday -- the day gay and lesbian couples were supposed to begin receiving marriage licenses for the first time in the red state’s history.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale struck down Idaho’s voter-approved amendment limiting marriage rights to heterosexual couples. She then refused to stay her decision, saying that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s appeal faced long odds and left no reason to keep same-sex couples from the altar.
But wedding plans were disrupted on Thursday, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to put a temporary hold on Dale’s order, giving it more time to consider the state’s request for a longer stay.
All dressed up and nowhere to go, more than 200 people flocked to the Ada County Courthouse Friday with out-of-town family members and rainbow flags in tow. The mood was celebratory, despite some counter-protesters who showed up to support Idaho’s 2006 constitutional ban.
"It's a little unfortunate we have to wait a little bit longer, but we're still hopeful and excited," Ty Carson, a lesbian who’s hoping to soon marry her partner of 15 years, told Reuters.
Idaho is among a group of conservative states that have seen their bans on same-sex marriage overturned in recent months. Federal judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, and Michigan have also seen their decisions stayed pending appeal. On Friday, Arkansas’ highest court followed suit, and suspended a judge’s ruling that struck down all state laws against same-sex marriage. More than 450 gay couples have obtained marriage licenses in Arkansas since last week, the Associated Press reports, but Friday’s decision will put a stop to that.