UPDATE: On Wednesday, Judge Candy Dale denied Gov. Butch Otter’s request for a stay to delay marriage equality until after all appeals are exhausted. Marriage will begin on Friday.
ORIGINAL STORY: Expecting to lose in U.S. District Court, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter filed a motion for a stay of the court’s expected marriage-equality ruling before it was handed down, according to the Idaho Statesman.
The case was heard on May 5. On Tuesday, Judge Candy Dale handed down a 57-page ruling. If the court doesn’t stay its decision, Idaho becomes marriage-equality state No. 19. Last week, Arkansas became equality-state No. 18.
In court, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden couldn’t come up with any real reasons to deny same-sex couples to marry. The state’s main argument was that Idaho voters decided the issue in 2006, and the defendants misread the case if they thought that vote was driven by animus.
Judge Candy Dale wrote, “Because Idaho’s Marriage Laws impermissibly infringe on Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry, the Laws are subject to strict due process and equal protection scrutiny.”
Dale said the state’s marriage laws “unambiguously expresses a singular purpose — to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage in Idaho” and found the laws unconstitutional under due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The judge debunked the state’s argument voters weren’t motivated by animus.
“But ‘preserving the traditional institution of marriage’ is just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples,” Dale wrote.
Just how many people does this affect? The U.S. Census Bureau reported 3,245 same-sex households in Idaho in the 2010 census.
In Arkansas, where the marriage laws were declared unconstitutional on Friday, 400 couples have married since the state began issuing licenses on Saturday.