Judge strikes down Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban

Gay and lesbian couples in Idaho could start getting married as soon as Friday after a judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote in her decision Tuesday evening that Idaho’s laws barring same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deny gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry.

Dale said the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting at 9 a.m. Friday.

However, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) has said he intends to appeal the case, so an appellate court could still put the weddings on hold.

Dale said marriage works a fundamental change on the lives of all who experience it and holds immense personal and spiritual significance.

Still, she built in a three-day delay in the ruling, apparently in response to a request from the governor.

Otter cited the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” he 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.”

The suit was filed in November by four Idaho couples, including two who had married in other states.

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