Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Drop the appeal

    Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden need to look up from the briefs in the state’s battle against gay marriage long enough to survey what’s going on in similar cases around the U.S.
    Last week’s determination by U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale that Idaho’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional lasted just two days before the state appealed to a federal appeals court that stayed her order to the state to start issuing marriage licenses.
    Otter is leading a losing battle. He should look to Oregon where early this week a federal judge overturned that state’s ban in the 13th legal victory in a row for gay-marriage advocates. Oregon did not appeal the decision.
    Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court over-turned a federal law that forbade the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, although the decision did not declare gay marriage legal across the country. That left states to battle out the constitutionality of their bans or to simply legalize the marriages and save themselves the trouble of a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Gay marriage is now legal in 18 states.  Bans are clearly unconstitutional in that they deny a class of citizens equal treat-ment under the law.
    Lawmakers who persist in making Idaho an avatar for their personal beliefs are doing Idahoans a disservice by spending the state’s time and money on a losing battle when they could be applied to more productive pursuits.
    Idaho leaders have better things to do than actively promote discrimination and inflict hardship on residents who want to marry legally and to be governed under the same laws that apply to everyone else.
    Idaho should drop its appeal.

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