Idaho Governor Seeks Appeals Court Freeze on Gay Marriage

Idaho Governor Butch Otter asked a U.S. appeals court to freeze a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional while he seeks to have the decision overturned.

Earlier today, Otter’s bid to delay the order, due to take effect on May 16, was rejected by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Boise. Dale struck down the prohibition yesterday, concluding “marriage is a fundamental right of all citizens which neither tradition nor the majority can deny.”

The victory in Idaho for gay marriage proponents came four days after an Arkansas judge overturned a similar ban. There are now 23 states where same-sex weddings have become legal through court ruling, popular vote or legislation.

Court-ordered stays, in place during appeals, still prevent same-sex marriages from being performed in some of those jurisdictions.

“Otter is convinced -- and in this he is joined by virtually all informed observers -- that the Ninth Circuit and, if necessary, the U.S. Supreme Court, will grant a stay pending appeal,” his attorneys said in court papers, referring to the San Francisco appeals court.

Deborah Ferguson, a lawyer representing plaintiff Susan Latta, said in a phone interview that she expected Otter’s request and will oppose it in a court filing.

Otter filed his notice of appeal in federal court in Boise.

The case is Latta v. Otter, 13-cv-00482, U.S. District Court, District of Idaho (Boise).

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