The Freedom to Marry in Idaho

Winning Marriage: October 15, 2014

Same-sex couples began marrying in Idaho on October 15, 2014 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a previous ruling by U.S. Chief Magistrate Candy W. Dale in favor of the freedom to marry in a federal legal case challenging the state’s anti-marriage laws. The 9th Circuit ruling followed the United States Supreme Court’s October 6, 2014 decision to deny review of pro-marriage orders from three other federal appellate courts. 

History and the Path to Victory:

  • January 1, 1996: A state statute passed by the Idaho Legislature takes effect, restricting marriage to different-sex couples.
  • March 18, 1996: Idaho Governor Phil Batt signs into law a measure that denies respect in Idaho to any marriage performed between same-sex couples in other jurisdictions.
  • November 7, 2006: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Idaho push through Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Idaho Constitution.
  • 2007-2014: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Idaho take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • April 2013: Polling in Idaho tracks a marked growth in support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • November 8, 2013: Same-sex couples and the National Center for Lesbian Rights file a federal legal case seeking the freedom to marry in Idaho, Latta v. Otter. In the same year, another marriage case is filed, building momentum for marriage in the courts. Read the complaint in Latta v. Otter – and meet the plaintiffs in the case.
  • May 13, 2014: U.S. Chief Magistrate Candy W. Dale rules in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. Read the ruling.
  • October 7, 2014: The 9th Circuit rules in favor of the freedom to marry in the Idaho case and orders the district court to issue an injunction prohibiting Idaho from enforcing its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples begin to marry on October 15, 2014. Read the 9th Circuit ruling.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country.

Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage:

Audio from the 9th Circuit Hearing on Idaho's Marriage Ban