Six Idaho same-sex couples offered ‘do-over’ marriage license applications

Katherine Sprague, center, and Tabitha Simmons, right, take an oath under the direction of Deputy Recorder Stacey Chapman while applying for their marriage license at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Sprague and Simmons were the first couple to be issued a same-sex marriage license in Latah County.

Katherine Sprague, center, and Tabitha Simmons, right, take an oath under the direction of Deputy Recorder Stacey Chapman while applying for their marriage license at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Sprague and Simmons were the first couple to be issued a same-sex marriage license in Latah County. Geoff Crimmins, AP

Katherine Sprague, center, and Tabitha Simmons, right, take an oath under the direction of Deputy Recorder Stacey Chapman while applying for their marriage license at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Sprague and Simmons were the first couple to be issued a same-sex marriage license in Latah County.Geoff Crimmins, AP

Katherine Sprague, center, and Tabitha Simmons, right, take an oath under the direction of Deputy Recorder Stacey Chapman while applying for their marriage license at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Sprague and Simmons were the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Latah County.

BOISE, Idaho — Six same-sex couples in northern Idaho who received marriage licenses before state officials say a federal court made such unions legal are being given a unique state-approved opportunity for a do-over.

Northern Idaho officials are offering a marriage license application that has the unusual option of selecting already married.

The application available only to the six same-sex couples in Latah County who married in early October is intended to allow them to get a new license without denying they’re already married.

The couples say they’d be lying and could face legal penalties if they filled out a new marriage application and put down anything but married.

But it’s not clear if any of the couples will take the option, and county officials said Wednesday that none of the couples had picked up one of the applications.

“We do not as now plan to get another marriage license,” said Jeff Dodge, who married Mark McLaughlin on Oct. 10, the same day they received the marriage license.

Events unfolded rapidly on Oct. 10 when the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals from five states, including Idaho, seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage.

That prompted lines at county offices throughout the state as same-sex couples sought licenses. Most counties waited for clarification from the Idaho attorney general’s office, except Latah County, which issued licenses to six couples that day.

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The attorney general’s office eventually said a final order was needed from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage would no longer be in effect. That didn’t happen until Oct. 15.

As a result, the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics said the state can’t file the six same-sex marriage licenses and certificates from Latah County because on Oct. 10 same-sex marriage in Idaho was illegal.

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