BOISE – Waving rainbow flags and holding signs that read “Love will prevail,” nearly 200 gay rights supporters flocked to the steps of a county courthouse Friday to celebrate and protest the latest development in Idaho’s legal battle over same-sex marriage.
The rally originally was planned as a party after a federal judge ruled earlier this week that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. The judge said couples could marry starting Friday morning.
By Thursday, however, the ruling was temporarily put on hold by a federal appeals court deciding whether Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden should be granted a stay while they appeal.
Not to be deterred, gay and lesbian supporters showed up at the Ada County Courthouse anyway to celebrate what they see as progress for the cause.
Many arrived wearing rainbow-colored shirts and dresses. Some stood near the road holding pro-gay marriage signs and waved them at cars that honked in support.
Local businesses donated coffee, cake and flowers that were passed around as dance music played in the background. Also in attendance were Boise City Council members, lawmakers and political candidates who attended to show their support.
“When you walk a mile in our shoes, you get used to setbacks,” said Boise resident Selina Heck, who went to the rally with her partner, Holly Gilchrist. After being together for 19 years, the couple said they decided to get a marriage license once they saw U.S. District Judge Candy Dale had overturned the state ban.
“We were deflated when we heard the stay was granted,” Heck said. “But it will get better. We are still hopeful.”
Brenda Martinez, a lesbian who was born and raised in Boise, said the rally was important to show Otter and Wasden that not all Idahoans agreed with their decision to appeal.
“We’re going to suit up and show up,” she said. “We’re going to celebrate what’s been accomplished already.”
On the outskirts of the rally, four protesters quietly stood holding signs saying, “I support you Gov. Otter and Attorney General Wasden, Idaho voted, our vote should stand” and “My vote should count.”
“We were disappointed in Judge Dale’s decision,” said Sue Barclay, of Nampa, who went to protest the rally with her son James. “The people of Idaho voted on this. Now I feel like our vote is being ignored.”
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage, and same-sex marriage bans are repeatedly being struck down in the courts.
Arkansas’ ban recently was overturned, but the Arkansas Supreme Court put the ruling on hold Friday pending appeal, halting the distribution of licenses that have been issued to hundreds of couples. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already is reviewing a gay marriage case out of Nevada. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma that were overturned by federal court judges.
Meanwhile, a federal judge said he’ll issue a decision Monday on a constitutional challenge to Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban.