Judge Denies Idaho Governor's Bid To Stay Gay Marriage Ruling
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[May 15, 2014]
By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A federal judge
who struck down Idaho's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional denied a
request by the governor on Wednesday for a stay of the decision in the
conservative Western state while the case is appealed.
The governor, Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter, called the ruling
"regrettable" and vowed to petition a higher court to keep the
state's gay marriage prohibition intact until the legal battle has
run its course through the judicial system.
Separately on Wednesday, a federal judge in Oregon refused to grant
legal standing to a national advocacy group seeking to defend a gay
marriage ban under court challenge there after state officials
declined to defend the voter-approved law.
A ruling on the Oregon lawsuit itself is expected soon.
In the Idaho case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale overturned that
state's ban on same-sex matrimony on Tuesday, saying it relegated
gay and lesbian couples to second-class status in violation of
constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
Her decision was the latest in a flurry of recent court opinions
striking down restrictions on same-sex marriage across the country -
including bans in such socially conservative states as Utah,
Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas.
Judge Dale in Idaho ordered enforcement of the gay marriage ban
there to end by Friday morning. In denying the governor's request
for a longer stay, she said the state's appeal was unlikely to
succeed on its merits.
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"Nor does the public interest favor preserving a status quo that
deprives individuals of their constitutional rights," she wrote.
Marriage rights have already been extended to gay men and lesbians
in 17 states and the District of Columbia in a trend that has gained
momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that legally
married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal
That tally is expected to rise sharply if federal court decisions
declaring bans in several states unconstitutional are upheld on
(Additional reporting by Shelby Sebens in Eugene, Ore., and Teresa
Carson in Portland, Ore.; editing by Steve Gorman and Matthew Lewis)
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