Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Federal Judge Overturns Montana's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 4:26 PM

A federal judge has overturned Montana's ban on same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reports.

In an historic ruling, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the state's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman violated the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

Morris' ruling comes after four Montana same-sex couples filed suit against the state in May. He said that his ruling was effective immediately. Two of the plaintiffs in the case were Angie and Tonya Rolando.

"Calling Tonya my partner, my significant other, my girlfriend, my perpetual fiancee has never done justice to our relationship," Angie Rolando told the AP. "Now I can look forward to the day when I can introduce her as my wife."

In September, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed similar rulings in Idaho and Nevada. The first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in the Gem State Oct. 15 after months of legal wrangling.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Otter Requests 9th Circuit 'En Banc' Review of Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples across Idaho since Oct. 15, but Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who has steadfastly supported the state's 2006 voter-enacted same-sex marriage ban, isn't done with the issue just yet.

Oct. 21, Otter requested that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals convene for an en banc review of a previous, 9th Circuit three-judge panel ruling upholding U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale's ruling that the ban was unconstitutional. An en banc review would be a judgment by all 11 members of the 9th Circuit Court.

According to a statement released by Otter's office, the governor made the request because the original three-judge panel made "critical errors in its decision, among them failing to apply the correct legal standard to Idaho's marriage laws." 

Specifically, Otter cited The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel's lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Alene over its nondiscrimination ordinance as an example of the harm presented by same-sex marriages. Coeur d'Alene's nondiscrimination ordinance prohibits housing, workplace and public accommodations discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and the Hitching Post has sued the city over its nondiscrimination ordinance, claiming that the city will force it to conduct same-sex weddings against the owner's religious beliefs, despite the fact that it's a nonprofit religious organization, and thus exempt from the ordinance's scope. 
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Coeur d'Alene Responds to Chapel Lawsuit Over Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM

The city of Coeur d'Alene has responded to a lawsuit filed by an iconic North Idaho chapel and a Christian legal defense fund over the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel has been in operation since 1919, but after U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled that Idaho's same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution in May, the chapel's owners told KXLY that they would rather close their chapel than wed a same-sex couple.

"I think the Bible is pretty clear that homosexuality is not his way, and therefore I cannot unite people in a way that I believe would conflict with what the Bible teaches," Hitching Post owner Donald Knapp said at the time.

Oct. 17, days after the last legal barriers to same-sex marriage were removed, Knapp and Alliance Defending Freedom—a religious freedom legal defense group—filed suit against the city over its ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity within city limits. Knapp et al said that the city ordinance would force the Hitching Post to wed same-sex couples, violating its owners' religious beliefs, or face up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

But according to Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Michael Gridley, the suit filed against the city has no grounds, since Hitching Post filed for religious corporation status with the secretary of state as a religious institution Oct. 6, exempting it from the nondiscrimination standard to which for-profit companies are held. is a for-profit entity and not a nonprofit religious corporation that would have its religious expression protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"I want to be clear that absent a change in the city's anti-discrimination ordinance or other applicable state or federal law, the city will not prosecute legitimate, nonprofit religious corporations, associations, educational institutions or societies or other exempt organizations or anyone else as a result of their lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion," wrote Gridley in a memo to David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom.

"I believe that given the current facts, your clients' lawsuit is premature and not ripe for adjudication. As such, I would ask that you review this letter with your clients and urge them to dismiss their Iawsuit before any more time and resources are expended," he wrote.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Carlson Talks After Guilty Verdict

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM

After being found guilty of first degree arson, possessing a hoax destructive device and indecent exposure on April 14, Citydesk talked to Catherine Carlson about her conviction.

“Well I expected it, and I didn’t expect it, and it blew my mind ... I [am going] to prison because I couldn’t transfer that title of that trailer into my name because I refuse to register as transgender,” said Carlson.

The 56-year-old Payette woman has a long history of physical and psychological abuse, and has had numerous encounters with the courts and law enforcement over the years.

July 11, 2010, Carlson torched the trailer where she lived, placed four fake pipe bombs on her doorstep and put a note on her front door that read, “No one inside, booby trapped, it’s not worth your life, keep out.” She then headed to a storage facility where she set her truck on fire. Carlson was arrested shortly afterward, while walking naked down Highway 95 in Payette.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Obama's DOMA Decision Affects Idaho

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Calling it an "historic position," Idaho scholars and activists cheered the Obama administration's move to no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In Wednesday's announcement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the act unconstitutional by denying gays and lesbians the right to marry.

David Adler, director of the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho, told Citydesk the change would carry a great deal of influence in the courts.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Boise LGBT Pride Grows Bigger Every Year

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Nearly 1,500 people gathered on the steps of the Statehouse on June 19 to celebrate the 17th annual Pride, the one day a year when LGBT friends and allies are free to openly express pride in themselves, their families and their community.

A short rally opened the day’s events. Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of ACLU Idaho was the keynote speaker (click here to watch Hopkins' speech). Hopkins addressed a diverse crowd that included everyone from young families to senior citizens and who came from as far as Idaho Falls and Portland. She emphasized the need for people to “come out” and “work diligently on public policy issues.” With the recent closing of the Idaho Women’s Network and Idaho Equality, that leaves the ACLU as the only statewide organization working directly on LGBT public policy issues.

After the rally, the mile-long parade—led by the hallmark rainbow balloon arch, followed by an 80-foot tall rainbow flag—marched to the festivities at Ann Morrison Park. Boise Pride’s executive director, Tom Thompson, estimated overall attendance at 7,500. At a cost of $30,000 to put on, early estimates indicate a small profit from the festival as a result of the first ever $1 gate fee. Some festival goers complained about the fence that encircled the crowd but Thompson says it was required for liability and security issues and provides accurate attendance figures to prospective sponsors and vendors.

Over the years, protesters have always been present, carrying signs and chanting, but for the first time in Boise Pride history no anti-gay protesters showed. Many view that as a positive sign of progress. BW talked to a number of people for the video below, asking what people think are the most pressing issues facing Idaho’s LGBT community and how Boise compares to other communities in terms of being LGBT friendly.

Credit: Interview by Jody May-Chang, video filming and editing by Tyler Bush.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Boycott H8 List Launched

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 4:31 PM

This may not be the Golden State, though a majority of Idahoans may have voted for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2006, but none of that is stopping some members of the state's LGBT community from having their say on the issue.'s Jody May-Chang is working long hours to compile Boycott H8, (as in "hate") a list of Idaho businesses and individuals that financially supported the passage of Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California. At a gay-rights rally in front of City Hall that coincided with national demonstrations last weekend, May-Chang distributed the list to those in the crowd.

At the top of the list is a name gay rights activists are used to seeing: Vandersloot. According to May-Chang's list, Belinda Vandersloot, the wife of businessman Frank Vandersloot who runs the health care product company Melaleuca in Idaho Falls, contributed $100,000 to the California YES on Proposition 8 campaign.

The bottom of the list dwindles down to contributions of a mere $50, with close to 150 businesses and individuals in total named from Boise to Burley and Rexburg to Rupert.

"It's labor intensive to make sure they're accurate," said May-Chang. "I'm cross referencing between information from California's Secretary of State and Idaho's Secretary of State's records."

In addition to the Idaho list, May-Chang is compiling similar lists for Utah and a nationwide boycott using information available through public records.

A complete list can be found at, where May-Chang has urged visitors that the list "is NOT to be used in ANY way to harass or otherwise harm anyone in any way or for any form of solicitation."

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