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Idaho officials encouraged by 6th Circuit ruling to uphold gay marriage bans

Idaho officials encouraged by 6th Circuit ruling to uphold gay marriage bans

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho officials say a recent ruling upholding same-sex marriage bans in four states could cause the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Idaho’s case.

Idaho Statehouse in Boise.
Idaho Statehouse in Boise.

Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Idaho’s gay marriage ban. But on Thursday, a separate federal appeals court upheld the ban in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The conflicting rulings mean the situation is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court, Idaho’s Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s spokesman Todd Dvorak told The Spokesman Review.

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“Because of that, we are moving forward with our plans to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court,” Dvorak said.

The state has until Jan. 5 to file the petition to the high court, Dvorak said.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Wasden have fought to uphold Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban since it was challenged nearly a year ago.

Currently, Otter has a petition pending with the 9th Circuit asking for a full review of its ruling. However, he welcomed the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

“This decision reinforces many of the same points I have made in federal court here and in the 9th Circuit – that defining marriage is a states’ rights issue under the Tenth Amendment,” Otter said in a prepared statement. “I am firmly committed to defending the will of Idaho voters as expressed in 2006.”

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Otter was referencing a constitutional amendment Idaho voters passed eight years ago that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The ban also prohibited civil unions and domestic partnerships; it was considered one of the nation’s most sweeping provisions when passed.

University of Idaho law Professor Liz Brandt said the 6th Circuit’s ruling has no direct impact on Idaho. Instead, she agreed with Dvorak that it increases the likelihood the Supreme Court would take up the issues.

So far, the high court justices have refused to take seven appeals from five states, but until Thursday, the circuit courts had all ruled the same way.

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