A federal judge has scheduled a hearing
in the case challenging the constitutionality of Idaho's ban on gay
Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W.
Dale will consider a motion filed Tuesday by four gay couples on May
The plaintiff couples assert that
Idaho's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples cannot stand in light of the 2013
Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key provision of the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA). Idaho's amendment bans same-sex marriage and
civil unions. Similar prohibitions appear in state statutes.
The couples, all of whom are from
Boise, are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) and Boise-based attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that
the state's marriage laws violate the United States Constitution's
guarantees of equal protection and due process.
The couples, three of whom are raising
children, are Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen,
Sheila Robertson and Andrea Altmayer and Amber Beierle and Rachael
The Watsens legally married in New
Lori said that Idaho treats the pair as
if they were strangers.
“We are two dedicated, loving parents
who have made work and other life changes to be able to provide our
son a loving, safe home, but Idaho does not recognize me as his legal
parent, so I have no official status in his life,” Lori said. “We
have been forced to go through special legal steps and incur costs to
protect our family as much as possible, but those measures cannot
replace all of the protections that are given to married couples.”
The case, Latta v. Otter, names
Idaho Governor C.L. Butch Otter, a Republican, as a defendant.