9th Circuit Grants Stay in Idaho Same-Sex Marriage Ban Case


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request from Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to halt the lifting of Idaho's same-sex marriage ban, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Hours before U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale declared May 13 that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriages violates the U.S. Constitution, Otter filed for a stay in her ruling. On May 15, the day same-sex couples in Idaho would have been able to legally obtain marriage licenses, news broke that the 9th Circuit had granted a temporary stay. Now that stay is permanent, pending appeal. 

But the court has also granted a request on the part of the plaintiffs—four same-sex couples arguing that Idaho's ban violates their constitutional rights—to expedite the case, meaning that the court will hear arguments on the matter on an accelerated schedule. Opening briefs are due July 19; the court will hear the case beginning the week of Sept. 8 in San Francisco.

Members of a three-judge panel that granted the stay said that Idaho's ban may not survive the 9th Circuit. Wrote Appellate Judge Andrew Hurwitz: "I find it difficult to conclude that the Idaho ban on same-sex marriage would survive interim Ninth Circuit review."

According to the Spokesman-Review, Shannon Minter, an attorney for the four same-sex couples suing the state of Idaho over its ban, was pleased the court chose to hear the case on an accelerated basis.

"We are very pleased that the court ordered expedited review and understood the critical importance and urgency of the issues in this case for Idaho's same-sex couples and their children. We look forward to defending Judge Dale's careful, thorough decision before the 9th Circuit," she said.