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Idaho gay marriage ban struck down

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After hearing oral arguments on May 5, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled on Tuesday that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to the Huffington Post.

Earlier on Tuesday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter (R) rushed to file a preemptive motion asking for an immediate stay on a ruling if Dale did strike down the ban on gay marriages. The Governor's motion says, that

“In the event of an adverse order, Gov. Otter will timely and duly appeal it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” and if the 9th District Court of Appeals agrees with Dale's ruling, Governor Otter plans to take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

In Judge Dale's ruling, she wrote that Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deny gay and lesbian citizens the right to marry. She also said "marriage works a fundamental change on the lives of all who experience it, and it holds immense personal and spiritual significance."

Judge Dale further said that Idaho's laws stigmatize quite wrongly, gay and lesbian couples, reducing they and their families to second-class status without sufficient reason.

Governor Otter, in a statement said:

"In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman," Otter said in a statement. "Today's decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution."

Four Idaho couples, Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers; Lori and Sharene Watsen; Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer; and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson, filed a lawsuit against Governor Otter and Ada County Clerk Chris Rich in November 2013, challenging Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage.

The four couples attorney, Deborah Ferguson, said, "The court's ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for everyone who cares about freedom and fairness."

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