Hundreds at rally hail ruling to overturn Idaho gay marriage ban

SALMON, Idaho Fri May 16, 2014 4:01pm EDT

1 of 3. A gay marriage supporter holds his interpretation of the American flag at a rally for gay marriage at the Ada County Court House in Boise, Idaho May 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Losness

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Hundreds of gay rights activists rallied in Boise on Friday to acclaim a federal judge's ruling that overturned Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, even as they registered disappointment with a stay that prevented marriages from taking place immediately.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled on Tuesday that Idaho's prohibition on marriage for gay and lesbian couples relegated them to second-class status in violation of constitutional rights to equal protection under the law.

The decision was to go into effect Friday morning but was temporarily blocked on Thursday by a U.S. appeals court as it considers the state's emergency motions for a longer stay.

Ty Carson, 41, and her lesbian partner of 15 years flew their daughter from Seattle to Boise to attend what the couple had hoped would be their wedding on Friday.

"It's a little unfortunate we have to wait a little bit longer, but we're still hopeful and excited," she said in a telephone interview.

The rally drew more than 200 people to the Ada County Courthouse, where clerks had anticipated issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time in Idaho history, said county spokeswoman Jessica Donald.

Bolstering an atmosphere she described as festive, Barbara Fairchild, 55, of Boise, held flowers and a miniature replica of an American flag along with a sign "Equality for all." Fairchild said she is not gay but supports their right to marry.

Meanwhile, a handful of counter-protesters attended the gathering to register their opposition to gay marriage.

Retired nurse Sue Barclay, 51, said she felt the voice of Idaho's majority - who approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2006 - was being silenced in court actions that have struck down bans on same-sex matrimony in nearly a dozen states.

"I support marriage between a man and a woman, and anything less will tear down the moral fabric of our country," she said.

Judy Cross, 67, countered that history was on the side of same-sex couples.

"Our right to marry in Idaho is coming and it is long overdue," she told Reuters.

The lawsuit challenging Idaho's gay marriage ban and naming the governor as a defendant was brought by four lesbian couples from Boise seeking to marry in their home state.

Republican Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter argued in legal filings that heterosexual marriage centered on the welfare of children rather than the "emotional interests of adults."

(editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (1)
REnninga wrote:
Step by step by step Idaho is moving toward the 21st century. There are still many thousands, primarily in northern Idaho, who prefer to continue living in the 19th century, and prefer preserving their hateful ‘white-power’ racist ideals, and their intolerance of minority persons which they label as different and unequal to white, Christian and heterosexual. But with each new generation Idaho is slowly morphing to become a society of tolerance, and embracing diversity and equality.

The sooner this transition occurs in Idaho, and it is the ignorant haters who are shunned, the less other Americans will avoid consideration of Idaho for the location of their businesses and include Idaho in their vacation and tourism decisions.

The fact is, the recognition of equal rights and equal protections, and embracing tolerance toward other human beings, will be very good for the economy of Idaho. The sooner the people get to it, and start turning their backs on the haters, the sooner the state will thrive economically.

May 16, 2014 5:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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