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Eye On Boise

Stewart: Same-sex marriage would be worse for Idaho kids than divorce

Attorney Monte Neil Stewart presents arguments in favor of gay marriage bans at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. A federal appellate court has heard arguments over Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii's gay marriage ban, with an attorney against the ban saying it sends a message to same-sex couples that they and their families are inferior.  (AP / Jeff Chiu)
Attorney Monte Neil Stewart presents arguments in favor of gay marriage bans at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. A federal appellate court has heard arguments over Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii's gay marriage ban, with an attorney against the ban saying it sends a message to same-sex couples that they and their families are inferior. (AP / Jeff Chiu)

After Idaho attorney Monte Stewart argued that legalizing same-sex marriage would send a message to society that promotes fatherlessness and motherlessness for Idaho children, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asked him, “Does Idaho prohibit divorce because it sends a bad message to people? … Doesn’t that do more damage to the ideal that you profess Idaho should be telling people, that they ought to be home with the mother and the father and the child?”

Stewart said no-fault divorce and the expansion of divorce has been bad for children in Idaho. “Pulling the man-woman meaning out of marriage and going with genderless marriage will be the coup de grace,” he said. “We think the effects will be much worse.”

Judge Marsha Berzon asked Stewart, “Is the assumption of your argument that children who are raised in a stable same-sex relationship from birth … (are worse off) than children who are raised in the 30 percent of the houses in Idaho in which by the age of six they are not withtheir biological parents?”

Stewart responded, “Everybody who loves children, and that includes Idaho … hopes sincerely, genuinely, that the conclusions of the no-differences study are valid. Because if they’re valid, then those children are going to be better off.” But Idaho, he said, is “skeptical.” “Idaho has concluded that the price is too high for switching to a radically different meaning at the core of marriage, one that Idaho … believes is going to result … in a higher level of fatherlessness,” he said.



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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