BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho has declared the state’s same-sex ‘marriage’ ban unconstitutional, making Idaho the 18th state where homosexual unions have been legalized.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale issued her opinion on Tuesday, asserting that Idaho’s constitutional marriage amendment, which was passed in 2006 with 63 percent approval from voters, violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
“A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state,” the amendment reads.
“This case asks a basic and enduring question about the essence of American government: Whether the will of the majority, based as it often is on sincere beliefs and democratic consensus, may trump the rights of a minority,” Dale wrote.
“If every individual enjoys a constitutional right to marry, what is the substance of that right for gay or lesbian individuals who cannot marry their partners of choice?” she continued. “Traditional man-woman marriage is no answer, as this would suggest that gays and lesbians can switch off their sexual orientation and choose to be content with the universe of opposite-sex partners approved by the state.”
Dale also contended that the religious reasons cited by the state were not sufficient to save the amendment.
“No doubt many faiths around the world and in Idaho have longstanding traditions of man-woman marriage rooted in scripture,” she stated. “But not all religions share the view that opposite-sex marriage is a theological imperative.”
Idaho Governor C.L. Otter expressed his disappointment over the decision following its release, stating that he will continue to fight the matter in court.
“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Today’s decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court,” he wrote in a statement. “I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution.”
Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden then filed an appeal in order to obtain a stay on the ruling while the challenge moves forward in court. On Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the temporary injunction just a day before licenses would have been allowed to be issued.
While hundreds of homosexuals attended a rally on Friday in Boise in support of Dale’s ruling, others came out to express their support for Governor Otter.
“My vote should count,” one sign read. “Idaho voted; our vote should stand,” read another.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who helped to craft Idaho’s marriage amendment when he served as a pastor in the state, also wrote in an online blog post this week that Governor Otter should defy Dale’s ruling.
“He should fulfill his oath of office, an oath he took before God, to uphold the Constitutions of both Idaho and the United States by flatly refusing permission for any city or county clerks in the state of Idaho to issue licenses to same-sex couples,” Fischer wrote. “Such an act on his part would in fact be the ultimate display of civil obedience, obedience to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and would be the first step in returning America to the rule of law rather than the rule of men.”
“As the Founders frequently stated, ‘Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.’ It’s about time for some governor to obey God by rebelling against judicial tyrants,” he said. “Gov. Otter could make American history by being that guy.”