Idaho same-sex marriage lawsuit heads to federal court

Idaho same-sex marriage lawsuit heads to federal court

Credit: KTVB

Idaho same-sex marriage lawsuit heads to federal court

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by The Associated Press & KTVB.com

The Associated Press

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 8:57 AM

BOISE -- A federal judge will hear arguments for and against same-sex marriage in Idaho Monday.

Four Idaho couples are suing Governor C.L. Butch Otter and the state in federal court to challenge laws banning same-sex marriage and denying recognition to same-sex couples who married in other states.

Right now, Idaho requires same-sex couples married somewhere else to file their state tax returns as if they are single rather than married.

Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen, Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson filed the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court in November 2013.

The women, who are represented by two local attorneys and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, contend that Idaho's laws violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

In the past, Gov. Otter has said states should have the right to define marriage, not the federal government. However, the four couples suing the state argue Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage doesn't relate to any legitimate governmental interest.

According to court filings, Gov. Otter contends that Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage are vital to the state's goal of creating "stable, husband-wife unions for the benefit of their children."

Several of the couples who filed the lawsuit have children.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale has been assigned the case. Oral arguments are set to start at 9:30 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Boise.

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