Judges in Idaho, Oregon and Arkansas just didn’t seem to be in the mood to listen to state officials today who didn’t care for their rulings. Virginia rolled out the same old, tired arguments that have been struck down across the country in its appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter seems desperate to prevent his state’s same-sex couples from marrying beginning Friday. The trial judge refused to put a stay on her decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.
Otter said he would ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay pointing to the “unmitigated disaster” that occurred in Utah after that state’s marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional.
Although he didn’t explain the disaster, he probably meant that about 1,300 couples married in Utah between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay. Those couples’ marriages are recognized by the federal government for tax and benefit purposes. Utah announced that it would allow those couples to file joint state taxes as well.
So you can see what a disaster marriage has been in Utah, but with the Supreme Court stay, Otter is exaggerating by calling the disaster unmitigated. The court mitigated the horror of couples filing their taxes jointly and, in most cases, paying more.
The 9th Circuit is not expected to grant a stay to Idaho. That circuit includes marriage-equality states Washington, California and Hawaii and has ruled in favor of marriage equality in the past. However, the Supreme Court is likely to stay the decision until appeals are exhausted. That may take several weeks.
Speaking of 9th Circuit states, Oregon is the latest state whose marriage law challenge has begun. Last week, the National Organization for Marriage filed papers to defend the marriage laws because the state attorney general declined to defend it.
Today, a federal judge declined to allow NOM to participate in the case.
“This is an Oregon case. It will remain an Oregon case,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane said.
NOM plans to appeal the judge’s decision to the 9th Circuit as well. The judge cited Hollingsworth v. Perry, better known as the Prop 8 case. That Supreme Court decision last year said interveners had to have standing. An organization can’t intervene just because they don’t like the interpretation of government officials.
Oregon Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum is representing the state in the case, but she called the law indefensible.
In Arkansas, the attorney general continues to ask for a stay because of confusion over the ruling. The ruling said the state’s marriage law was unconstitutional. Some county clerks have begun issuing licenses while others have not.
The confusion seems to be among county clerks who don’t seem to want to comply with the ruling, not with the couples who read the ruling and went to the county clerks’ offices and asked for licenses. About 400 couples have married in Arkansas already.
Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee called for the judge’s impeachment.
In Virginia, the state argued that 1.3 million voters passed an amendment. That argument was knocked down earlier this week in Idaho. Virginia also argued the plaintiffs do not have the right to redefine marriage, and they can’t give children a mother and a father.