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Eye On Boise

Tue., May 13, 2014, 8:22 p.m.

Idaho becomes 11th state to see gay marriage ban overturned in federal court

Here's a link to my updated full story at on today's federal court ruling overturning Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage. Unless a higher court intervenes, same-sex couples in Idaho can legally marry starting Friday morning. Just a day earlier, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter had filed a pre-emptive motion asking U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale to stay her decision - blocking it from taking immediate effect - if she ruled against Idaho’s ban, to avoid the “chaos, confusion, conflict and uncertainty” that would ensue if same-sex couples in Idaho were allowed to marry, but then subsequent appeals halted such marriages. Dale declined.

Idaho now becomes the 11th state in which federal courts have overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage, all in the past half-year; plus, a state court invalidated Arkansas' ban last week, and state courts in New Jersey and New Mexico have overturned their states' bans. Deborah Ferguson, lead attorney for the Idaho couples who sued, said, "When we filed this case in November, there hadn't been a single federal decision issued." Most of those cases are on appeal. “These cases are happening simultaneously around the country,” Ferguson said. With the state vowing to appeal, it’s possible that Idaho’s case could be the one that arrives first at the U.S. Supreme Court. Said Ferguson, “We will vigorously defend this judgment.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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