9th Circuit Temporarily Halts Idaho Gay Marriage

[UPDATED] The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted Idaho same-sex marriage Thursday until the court has time to review Gov. Butch Otter’s request for a longer stay while the appeal is resolved.

A federal magistrate in Idaho struck down the state’s law banning gay marriage on May 13 and the governor appealed for a stay of that order, set to take effect Friday at 9 a.m.  The appeals court agreed to prevent enforcement of the injunction, at least while it reviews the state’s request for a longer stay as months of appeals are sorted out.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale issued the order invalidating all of Idaho’s laws preserving marriage for a man and a woman.  Idaho laws and a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006 that barred same-sex unions.

The governor said the stay was needed to prevent “the same unseemly chaos, confusion, conflict, uncertainty, and spawn of further litigation and administrative actions seen in Utah and, to a lesser extent, in Michigan” after court decisions allowed same-sex couples to marry.

The filing asks that the 9th Circuit allow the 2006 law to remain in place until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a similar case from Utah.

Dale refused to stay her order to allow the state to appeal and Otter rushed the papers to the 9th Circuit on Wednesday.

The Idaho filing points out that the 9th Circuit issued a stay in the California same-sex marriage challenge to block now-retired Judge Vaughn Walker’s order invalidating the ban on gay marriage.

Dale rejected arguments that limiting marriage to a man and a woman was in the best interests of children.

“Idaho’s marriage laws fail to advance the state’s interest because they withhold legal, financial and social benefits from the very group they purportedly protect – children,” she wrote.

Case: Latta v. Otter, No. 14-35420


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