It must be noted that he is now joining a throng of judges who have looked at their jurisdictions marriage laws and been unable to come up with even a rational reason for denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Just last Friday a state district court judge in Arkansas struck down that red state's bans on marriage equality. Yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments and looks likely to uphold a lower court ruling striking down Virginia's ban on marriage equality. Things are moving fast, folks!
Check out this excerpt from the end of the judge's decision in Latta v. Otter:
The Plaintiffs are entitled to extraordinary remedies because of their extraordinary injuries. Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.
The Defendants offered no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite-sex marriages or the well-being of children. Without proof, the Defendants' justifications echo the unsubstantiated fears that could not prop up the anti-miscegenation laws and rigid gender roles of days long past. Then as now, it is the duty of the courts to apply the law to the facts in evidence. Here, the facts are clear and the law teaches that marriage is a fundamental right of all citizens, which neither tradition nor the majority can deny.
The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection lie at the core of our constitutional system. While the Supreme Court has not expressly decided the issues of this case, it has over the decades marked the path that leads to today's decision. "[T]he history of our Constitution . . . is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded." United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 557 (1996). Slow as the march toward equality may seem, it is never in vain.
... The Court hereby DECLARES that Idaho's Marriage Laws are unconstitutional because they violate Plaintiffs' rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS the State of Idaho and its officers, employees, agents, and political subdivisions from enforcing Article III, § 28 of the Idaho Constitution; Idaho Code Sections 32-201 and 32-209; and any other laws or regulations to the extent they do not recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted outside Idaho or prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying in Idaho. This injunction shall take effect at .
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hat/tip to Freedom to Marry!