The nationwide fight for marriage equality chalked up another victory yesterday. A federal court ruled that Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state’s law was challenged on behalf of four lesbian couples by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. As a result of the court’s decision, same-sex couples in Idaho can get married as early as Friday morning.
The plaintiffs argued that Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage has no standing in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling last June that the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, of Boise, were among the four couples who challenged the state’s law. They have been together for 10 years. Although they were married in California in 2008, their home state didn’t recognize their marriage. But yesterday’s victory will change that.
“After living in Idaho for more than two decades, it means so much for a court to recognize our family and say that we must be treated equally,” said Latta. “We love this state and want nothing more than to be treated as equal citizens who contribute to the community and help make Idaho an even better place for everyone who lives here. [Yesterday’s] ruling means that we can finally have the same legal protections as other married couples and the security of knowing that our family is legally secure.”
“Today’s decision affirms the fundamental principles of equality and fairness and the common humanity of gay and lesbian people,” said Deborah A. Ferguson, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “As the Court recognized, these families are part of Idaho’s community, and equal protection requires that they be given the same legal protections and respect as other families in this state. 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.”
“The court was right to strike down this discriminatory law,” echoed Monica Hopkins of the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] of Idaho. “All loving and committed couples deserve the recognition and the peace of mind that comes with the protections that only marriage can provide. This ruling is a significant step toward full equality for all and we will continue to fight for additional policies … that protect Idahoans against discrimination.”