Idaho LGBT Constitutional Debate Heads to Court Monday


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Monday, May 5, is set to be an important day in the critical debate over LGBT rights—or lack thereof—in the state of Idaho.

Attorneys representing four Treasure Valley couples are challenging Amendment No. 2 of the Idaho Constitution, which states "a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."

But similar bans in other states have been challenged and, in some cases, been struck down in federal courts.

The same-sex couples will be tangling with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and attorneys representing Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Ada County Clerk Chris Rich, since the couples attempted to file for marriage licenses at the Ada County Courthouse.

Monday's arguments will be heard by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale at 9:30 a.m.

Otter has often used the pending suit to refuse to talk about the debate, yet has insisted that Idaho will spend whatever is necessary to defend Idaho's constitutional ban.

The plaintiffs are Andrea Altmayer and Sheila Robinson, who have been together 16 years, Lori and Sharene Watsen who have been married (in New York) for three years, Traci Ehlers and Sue Latta who have been married (in California) for six years, and Amber Beierle and Rachel Robertson, who have been together three years.

The California-based National Center for Lesbian Rights will help defend the four couples. The NCLR has argued against similar constitutional amendments across the nation, including successful rulings in Utah and New Mexico.



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