A federal judge in Boise has ruled Idaho’s law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
The ruling Tuesday by Judge Candy Dale is set to take effect at 9 a.m. on Friday. But shortly after the ruling, the governor vowed to appeal.
Judge Dale writes that not allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry violates their constitutional rights and relegates them to what she calls a “stigmatized, second-class status.” She says the state of Idaho must allow couples to legally marry, as well as recognize marriages from other states.
Gay rights activist and former state legislator Nicole LeFavour says the ruling is validation for couples who have been denied marriage by politicians.
“The courts are sometimes our only savior to say, ‘You can’t be that cruel to people,’” says LeFavour. “And so today is a good day.” Idaho voters passed the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman back in 2006.
In a written statement, Idaho Governor Butch Otter called the ruling a “small setback” and promised to defend the will of the people to the U.S. Supreme Court. Even before the ruling, Otter had filed a request that in the event the law was reversed, that ruling be put on hold until completion of all appeals.