Idaho

Idaho

Latta v. Otter

What's Happening

On May 13, 2014, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, a federal judge in Idaho, ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment that bans same-sex couples from marriage.

The ruling was set to take effect on Friday, May 16, until the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit temporarily granted the Governor of Idaho's request for a stay. On May 20, the 9th Circuit issued a stay throughout the proceedings and established an expedited briefing schedule. The opening brief is due June 19, with an answering brief from Idaho plaintiffs due July 18. Oral argument will be set for the week of September 8. 

Case Background

On November 8, 2013, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private lawyers filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry and respect for their out-of-state marriages in Idaho. The lawsuit arguest that laws in Idaho that restrict marriage to different-sex couples and refuse to respect legal marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states violate the United States Constitution's commitment to equal protection and due process. 

The plaintiffs all hail from Boise, Idaho, and three of them are raising children. They include: Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, a professional artist and adjunct professor at Boise State University who are already legally married; Andrea Altmayer and Sheila Robertson, who want to marry in Idaho to ensure that their family, including their son, is recognized in the state; Lori and Sharene Watsen, who are legally married in New York; and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson, who previously served a tour of duty in Iraq as a member of the Idaho Army National Guard.

On February 19, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in their case. 

Taylor v. Brasuell

What's Happening

On July 7, 2014, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private counsel from Boise-based attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Madelynn Lee Taylor, a military veteran seeking respect for her marriage in Idaho to her late wife, Jean Mixner. The 74-year-old Taylor wishes to be buried in the Idaho State Veterans Ceremony alongside Mixner, but Idaho laws restricting marriage to different-sex couples make that wish impossible.

The lawsuit argues that Idaho's refusal to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Case Background

Madelynn and Jean were married in California in 2008. NCLR writes, "Taylor served in the Navy from 1958 to 1964. In 2013, she tried to make advance arrangements to have her ashes interred along with those of her wife in a granite columbarium at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, as other veterans and their spouses are permitted to do."

Madelynn added: "Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean. I could be buried here alone, but I don’t want to be alone. I want Jean with me forever."

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