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Idaho governor, GOP lawmakers pledge to defend state’s gay marriage ban

Saturday, January 4, 2014
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BOISE, IdahoRepublicans pledged to defend Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage from a legal challenge, while Democrats favor letting similar cases elsewhere proceed rather than dedicating taxpayer resources to what they believe will be a losing battle.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho)

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-Idaho)

Four couples have challenged Idaho’s gay marriage ban, enacted by voters in 2006, in federal court.

The lawsuit is the first challenge to Idaho’s constitutional ban of same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court made two key decisions bolstering the legal status of such marriages last June.

The couples, who are represented by two local attorneys and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, contend that Idaho’s laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Friday told reporters it was his responsibility to stand up for Idaho’s Constitution.

Senate GOP leader Brent Hill of Rexburg added “it’s always a wise use of funds to defend our Constitution.”

Similar ban challenges are more advanced in Utah and Ohio.

Consequently, House Minority Leader John Rusche (D) prefers letting those states lead the way.

Rusche contends fighting to preserve the bans will be a costly, losing fight, about as successful as “holding back the tide.”

Follow this case: Latta v. Otter.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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