U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an early morning stay, blocking enforcement of the 9th Circuit Court order to allow same-sex marriages in Idaho.
"It is ordered that the mandate of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ... is hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court," wrote Kennedy.
Kennedy has given Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden until 5 p.m. on Thursday to file a response.
"We also asked the 9th Circuit for the same relief, but I'm grateful that Justice Kennedy acted so promptly," said Otter this morning. "I intend to be faithful to my oath of office and keep working to protect the Idaho Constitution and the mandate of Idaho voters in support of traditional marriage."
Otter submitted a stay request to Kennedy Tuesday evening after the 9th Circuit amended its initial order to make same-sex marriage effective immediately.
October 7, 2014
Saying that Idaho's ban of same-sex marriage "unjustifiably discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation," the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, Oct. 7 that the ban was indeed unconstitutional.
9th Circuit judges ruled that Idaho's same-sex marriage ban draws on "archaic and stereotypical notions about the purportedly distinctive roles and abilities of men and women."
In the case of Latta v. State of Idaho, the panel heard from Monte Neil Stewart, the private attorney charged with defending Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who told the Court that Idaho's ban combats forces that erode marriage like divorce and parental absenteeism, and helps Idaho children grow up in one-man, one-woman families—an ideal environment, he said, for children's "bonding right." Allowing same-sex marriage, he said, harms Idaho's interest in preserving Idaho families.
Speaking for the plaintiffs—four same-sex couples including Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen, Sheila Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson—was Boise attorney Deborah Ferguson, who argued that Idaho's ban denies same-sex couples their Fourth Amendment rights, that Idaho's ban is "the most draconian" in the 9th Circuit, and that the argument that the ban reflects Idaho's cultural values is arbitrary.
"It nullifies all same-sex marriages made in other states at its borders and bars the possibility of recognition of any form to same-sex couples," Ferguson argued before the 9th Circuit. "The state’s justifications for banning same-sex marriage, the harms are so egregious, and there is no rational logical conclusion if the state wants to encourage man-woman marriage, that sounds just like gender stereotypes."
And Tuesday afternoon, the 9th Circuit, ruling on Idaho and Nevada's same-sex marriage laws told attorneys for both states that they had "failed to demonstrate that these laws further any legitimate purpose, they unjustifiably discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause."
Meanwhile, minutes after the ruling was handed down, the phones at Ada County Clerk Chris Rich began ringing.
"Things got hectic about 35 minutes ago," Rich told Boise Weekly less than an hour after the ruling.
Late Tuesday, the 9th Circuit issued the following order: "The mandate shall issue forthwith." Simply put, that means marriage license applications are expected to be processed as early as Wednesday morning. And Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, who vehemently fought to defend the ban issued the following statement late Tuesday:
“Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit is disappointing, but not unexpected. I will carefully evaluate the opinion, along with yesterday’s surprising decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and talk with legislative leaders and the Attorney General before determining our path forward. The stay on same-sex marriage in Idaho remains in effect until we are directed otherwise by the 9th Circuit.”