Idaho’s legal defense of gay marriage ban totals $715,000

“(Legal fees) really depend on a variety of things,” said Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. “It depends on the complexity of the litigation, the kinds of motions that are made and what the rate is for various offices. The court is who makes that determination, so you have to take that all into account.”

Earlier this year, Wasden was the lone dissenting vote in the Constitutional Defense Council’s decision to approve paying $53,000 for outside counsel to appeal the state’s gay marriage case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court. Wasden said his office was well-equipped to handle the cases and it was unnecessary to pay the high price of private attorneys.

“There were some interesting additions,” Wasden said Friday.

Gay marriage became legal in Idaho in late 2014 after the 9th Circuit upheld a federal judge’s ruling in May that declared Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitutional Defense Fund was created in 1995 to defend the state’s legal rights against the federal government. Since its inception, it has only been involved in one winning case. There’s currently around $230,000 remaining in the account. Members include Otter, Wasden, House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill.

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