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Family & Relationships

Federal Appeals Court Expedites Appeal of Decision Overturning Idaho’s Ban on Marriage Equality, Puts Decision On Hold While Appeal Proceeds

(Boise, ID, May 20, 2014)—Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered expedited review of a federal district court’s decision that overturned Idaho’s ban on marriage equality. At the same time, the court put the lower court’s decision on hold until the appeal is completed.

On May 13, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale ordered the State of Idaho to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states. The next day, Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit and filed motions asking the court to stay Judge Dale’s decision until the Ninth Circuit completes its review of the case. Today, the Ninth Circuit granted the motions but ordered that the appeal be resolved on an expedited basis. The case will be heard by the Ninth Circuit the week of September 8, 2014.

The case was brought by four same-sex couples represented by Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). The couples are Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, and Lori and Sharene Watsen, who are legally married and asked Idaho to recognize their marriages, and Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson, who seek to marry.

Said Lori Watsen: “While Sharene and I are disappointed that the state won’t have to respect our marriage right away, we’re happy that the case is being fast-tracked. We look forward to the day our home state treats our marriage equally and we have the same legal protections as other married couples in Idaho.”

Said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter: “We are very pleased that the court ordered expedited review and understood the critical importance and urgency of the issues in this case for Idaho’s same-sex couples and their children. We look forward to defending Judge Dale’s careful, thorough decision before the Ninth Circuit. As 13 federal district courts have now recognized, gay and lesbian people and their children are part of our communities and our nation, and basic principles of fairness and equality demand they be given the same legal protections and respect as other families.”

Learn more about the case.

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