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Federal Judge strikes same-sex marriage ban in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (ABC4 Utah) - A federal judge refused to stay same-sex marriages in Idaho today after lifting the state's controversial same-sex marriage ban.
BOISE, Idaho (ABC4 Utah) - A federal judge refused to stay same-sex marriages in Idaho today after lifting the state's controversial same-sex marriage ban. 

Lifting the ban brought celebration outside the state courthouse yesterday.

"We won," one of the eight plaintiff's suing the state said.  "We're ecstatic.  It couldn't have been a better ruling and we couldn't be happier."  

The plaintiffs include four lesbian couples who claim that Idaho's 14th Amendment defining marriage as a union between man and wife infringes upon their rights. 

"I've been with Andrea for sixteen years," plaintiff Sheila Robertson said. "We've wanted to get married." 

On Friday they can. 

Hand in hand with her partner Andrea, Sheila said, "First in line Friday morning.  Absolutely." 

The couple is raising a four-year-old boy which makes the decision life changing. 

"Our little boy can grow up in a family just like anybody else's little boy," Robertson said.  "He knows that his moms are connected and he's protected and he's with us.  He's ours." 

In her decision Judge Candy Dale said the state of Idaho, "...offered no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite sex marriages or the well being of children."  

She continued, "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." 

Many Idahoans disagree with her.  In a statement the state's Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter said, "In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and woman.  Today's decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court..."

Many Legal analysts agree. After a similar turn of events in Utah the state is waiting on a decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on the legality of same-sex marriage.  When that decision comes down, both the state of Utah and the plaintiff's in the case could appeal.

However, despite that decision and it's long-reaching impact, several couples in Idaho told ABC4 Utah they are happy.

While fighting back tears Robertson said, "Friday morning I'll be at the courthouse requesting a license and we'll file for step-parent adoption."

The state of Idaho will appeal the decision, but Idahoans will not have to wait for that appeal to get married. 

Meanwhile, as Utahns wait for the 10th Circuit Court's decision, appeals courts across the country plan to hear arguments on similar cases affecting at least 10 other states in the coming weeks. 
















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