On November 8, 2013, four same-sex couples from Idaho filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court or the District of Idaho under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the state of Idaho. The plaintiffs, represented by both private and public interest attorneys, asked the court to declare that Idaho laws banning same-sex marriage are in violation of the Constitution, to enjoin enforcement of these laws, and to require that the defendants issue marriage permits to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages of other states.
Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage and on recognition of same-sex marriages celebrated in other states deprives them of their Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that the ban on same-sex marriage violated their Equal Protection rights, constituting sexual orientation and gender discrimination.
On January 28, 2014, the Court granted the state's motion to intervene, citing Idaho's strong interest in the case. On May 13, 2014, the Court (Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denied the defendants' motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss. In its opinion, the Court declared that Idaho's marriage laws are unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the State of Idaho from enforcing any laws or regulations that do not recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted outside Idaho or prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in Idaho. Latta v. Otter, 2014 WL 1909999 (D. Idaho 2014).
The defendants appealed to the United States Court of Appeals (USCA). On May 15, 2014, the USCA granted a stay of the district court's injunction against enforcement of the same-sex marriage ban pending appeal.
On Oct. 7, 2014, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judges Reinhardt, Berzon, and Gould) affirmed the district court's decision. 2014 WL 4977682. The court applied heightened scrutiny, and determined that the state had failed to identify any legitimate purpose for the same-sex marriage bans. In the same opinion, the court reversed the judgment in Sevcik v. Sandoval
, a Nevada same-sex marriage case in which the district court had upheld the state's marriage ban. That same day, the court issued an order instructing that both lower courts promptly issue a permanent injunction enjoining the states from enforcing any same-sex marriage ban.
The next day, the state petitioned Justice Anthony Kennedy, the circuit justice for the 9th Circuit, for an emergency stay of the order. Justice Kennedy initially ordered the stay, but then reversed himself later in the day: The emergency stay would remain in effect for Nevada, but not for Idaho. 2014 WL 5025970. On Oct. 10, 2014, the Supreme Court officially denied the state's request for a stay and vacated Justice Kennedy's previous orders.
On Oct. 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit granted the Plaintiffs' motion to dissolve the stay.Megan Dolan - 06/10/2014
Andrew Junker - 10/16/2014