State Has Spent More Than $80,000 Defending Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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Earlier this year, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter allocated $1 million to the state's fight to protect its 2006 voter-enacted same-sex marriage ban. But that's considerably higher than what the state has paid so far to defend the ban, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Idaho's legal bill to protect the ban has topped $80,000, and in response to a records request, the office of the governor has released an agreement, made Oct. 7, with Washington, D.C-based attorney Gene Schaerr to compose requests to both the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court for stays of the decision allowing same-sex marriages to proceed in Idaho. The agreement was worth $10,000.

Before that, the state spent $71,477 challenging U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale's ruling that the state's ban was unconstitutional. All-told, the state has spent $81,477 on the ban, including $76,920 on private attorneys. 

Among the private litigators the state hired was Monte Stewart, who engaged in oral arguments before the 9th Circuit and charged the state $250 per hour. Stewart also defended Nevada's same-sex marriage ban, but withdrew from defending Idaho's ban. Stewart was replaced by Schaerr.

The more than $80,000 the state has spent defending its ban may not be the end of its legal bills. Otter has filed a brief with the 9th Circuit for an en banc review—including all 11 9th Circuit justices—of its previous ruling upholding Dale's decision, and could also be responsible for the plaintiffs' attorney fees and court costs in the lawsuit that triggered the ruling, Latta v. Otter.

Marriage licenses began being granted to same-sex couples Oct. 15.