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

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Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson in a letter to the couples last month said the state registrar and chief of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, James Aydelotte, with legal counsel from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, confirmed that the county can offer the revised marriage license application forms with already married as an option, and that the state will accept the marriages as valid once vows are redone.

“Please understand that we are not advising that you take action one way or another,” Thompson wrote in the April 16 letter. “Rather, we merely want to make you aware of this new option which was previously not available.”

Niki Forbing-Orr, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said the state doesn’t have the option to recognize a same-sex marriage that occurred before federal courts said it was legal. But the unique marriage application can help solve that.

“I think this is a good fix so they can be legally married and move on with their lives,” she said.

Dodge, who married McLaughlin in a ceremony that included their recently adopted son, Marley, then 2 months old, said he appreciates the efforts made by Latah County to resolve the problem, but he’s sticking with the first marriage license.

An associate clinical professor of law at the University of Idaho and associate dean for students, Dodge said he’s considered the options and it’s a nuanced legal situation.

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Dodge said the records to support the October marriage are in Latah County, which has also supplied various other documents.

“Do I have 100 percent confidence that this is clearly legal? No,” he said. “But I do feel that we now have enough on record with the county that if we were challenged, we do have documents from the county that we acted in reliance on.”

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