US: Idaho clerk begins marrying same-sex couples
Same-sex couples have begun to marry in some parts of Idaho, after a court overturned the state’s marriage ban.
The state had been set to begin marrying couples alongside Nevada on Tuesday, after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans in both states.
However, though weddings in Nevada have gone ahead, marriages in Idaho were temporarily halted by Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, after the state’s Governor lodged a last-ditch appeal.
Today, however, that ruling was cancelled, allowing the weddings to proceed as planned, while Governor Butch Otter conceded defeat.
Mr Otter – a Republican who has fiercely fought against rights for same-sex couples – said in a statement: “The Supreme Court’s order lifting Justice Kennedy’s stay effectively allows same-sex marriage in Idaho as soon as the 9th Circuit directs compliance with its decision.
“I disagree with the court’s conclusion, which negates the 2006 vote of the people of Idaho, is contrary to the values of most Idahoans, and undermines fundamental states’ rights. But we are a nation of laws.
“Idaho now should proceed with civility and in an orderly manner to comply with any forthcoming order from the 9th Circuit.”
Despite Mr Otter’s call for clerks to wait for a mandate before marrying couples, a clerk in Latah County has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples already, and others are expected to follow suit.
Susan Petersen, the clerk of Latah County, told the Spokesman-Review that she had married a number of same-sex couples so far, adding: “They were jubilant.
“I hope I did the right thing. We’re just trying to follow the law.”
The ruling comes after a bumper week for marriage equality, with the number of states recognising marriage rising rapidly from 19 on Monday to nearly 30 today, following a Supreme Court decision, and rulings in Nevada, Idaho, and North Carolina.
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