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Ban on Gay Marriage in Idaho Struck Down by Judge

The Idaho ban on same-sex marriage has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal magistrate judge. The ruling was issued late Tuesday by U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, according to The Associated Press. Dale wrote in the decision that the law unconstitutionally denies gays and lesbians their fundamental rights to marry.

Dale also noted that marriage creates a fundamental change in a person’s personal and spiritual portion of the lives of those who take part.

She also said that the laws of the state stigmatize gay and lesbian couples and force them to into second-class status without reason.

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Idaho Governor C.L. Otter said he would appeal the case.

“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” Otter said in a statement. “Today’s decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution.”

The lawsuit was filed by four couples from Idaho back in November. The lawsuit was filed against the governor, Ada County Clerk Chris Rich.

The couples who filed the lawsuit are Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers; Lori and Sharene Watsen; Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer; and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson.

Latta and Ehlers tied the knot back in 2008 in California. The Watsens entered their marriage in New York back in 2011. Lori Watsen is required to acquire a new power of attorney every six months in order to have the legal authority to consent to medical treatment for her son.

The litigation attorney for the couples, Deborah Ferguson, said, “The court’s ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for everyone who cares about freedom and fairness.”

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