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Judge allows Idaho AG to intervene in same-sex marriage case

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge says Idaho’s attorney general can intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, even though Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is already a party in the case.

Lawrence Wasden

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (R-Idaho)

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale made the ruling Tuesday, saying that Idaho has a strong interest in defending its laws against constitutional attack and that Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was in a position to assert those defenses.

The judge acknowledged that at least some of Wasden’s defenses will mirror those already being presented by Otter, but said that redundancy alone wasn’t enough to keep Wasden out of the case.

Four couples – Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen, Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson – filed the lawsuit challenging Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban in November, arguing that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process guarantees.

Two couples married in other states, and the other two tried to marry in Idaho but were denied.

They brought the lawsuit against the governor and Ada County Clerk Chris Rich, and the women’s lawyers have adopted a legal strategy that’s been effective in Ohio so far.

Dale said because of the weighty and controversial issues in the case, she wanted to be sure that Idaho’s stance was fully represented, and that meant allowing Wasden to intervene.

Follow this case: Latta v. Otter.

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