At this rate we’ll have full nationwide marriage equality by lunch next Tuesday:
A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it violates couple’s equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. In a strongly worded opinion, Chief Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale ruled that the couples who sued are “entitled to extraordinary remedies because of their extraordinary injuries,” declaring that the state is permanently enjoined form enforcing the ban as of Friday morning.
The judge’s ruling summarily smacked down every ridiculous argument put forth by Idaho Governor Butch Otter:
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) attempted to justify the state’s marriage laws with four claims, all of which Dale dismissed. First, Otter argued that the marriage laws promote child welfare, but Dale countered that raising children is not a prerequisite or expectation of marriage, and thus not relevant to limiting the institution to different-sex couples, adding that “the Governor’s child welfare rationales disregard the welfare of children with same-sex parents.
Secondly, Otter contended that “Idaho’s interest in child welfare is served by directing the State’s limited resources to opposite-sex couples.” Judge Dale was not impressed, because “the Supreme Court has rejected the argument that cost-cutting is a sufficient reason for denying benefits to a discrete group.” Further, the same rationale continues to hurt the children of same-sex couples, what Dale called a “State-endorsed message of unworthiness.”
Third, the state argued that marriage is a state’s right, so the ban on same-sex couples marrying is acceptable for reasons of federalism. Citing Windsor, last summer’s decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Dale explained that “‘federalism’ is no answer where, as here, individuals claim their state government has trampled their constitutional rights.”
Lastly, Otter argued that the ban on same-sex marriage supports religious liberty and avoids religion-centered conflicts. Dale described this view as “myopic,” noting that even “some of the Plaintiffs actively worship in faiths that recognize and support their unions.”
That excerpt referenced in that last paragraph deserves to be read in the original ruling, because it’s just beautiful and guaranteed to make religious right heads explode:
It’s nice to see the religious right’s arguments being used against them.
Speaking of wingnut heads exploding, it turns out that Idaho’s marriage ban was co-authored by none other than Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association hate group. He is Not Happy:
“A subjugated nation.” How pitiful that he really thinks that the fact that many Idaho couples’ lives will be better, safer and more protected really bothers the majority of Americans as much as it bothers him.
Anyway, congratulations, Idaho!