Idaho Marriage Definition, HJR 2 (2006)

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The Idaho Marriage Definition Amendment, also known as House Joint Resolution 2, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in Idaho as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure amended Section 28 of Article III of the Idaho Constitution to provide that "a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized" in Idaho.[1][2]

Aftermath

Judge overturns measure

Nearly eight years after Idaho voters passed House Joint Resolution 2, the measure was struck down on May 13, 2014 as a result of a lawsuit filed by four same-sex couple last November. U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale blocked enforcement of the ban on same-sex marriage, calling it unconstitutional. As a result of the decision, the state will be required to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses beginning at 9 am on May 16, 2014.[3]

In her opinion, Dale states:[4]

The defendants offered no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite-sex marriages or the well-being of children. Without proof, the defendants' justifications echo the unsubstantiated fears that could not prop up the anti-miscegenation laws and rigid gender roles of days past. [5]

U.S. Supreme Court appeal

In anticipation of a ruling overturning the ban, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's attorney filed a plea on Monday for an order to postpone the decision to allow an appeal to go ahead. A spokesman for the attorney general's office also stated that the attorney general intends to file a motion for a stay on May 14, 2014. State officials may ask the Supreme Court to take on the issue immediately, without waiting for an appeal through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[6][7]

Circuit court decision

On October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada in a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel. In its decision, the court said:

Idaho and Nevada's marriage laws, by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages celebrated elsewhere, impose profound legal, financial, social and psychic harms on numerous citizens of those states...These harms are not inflicted on opposite-sex couples.

[5]

While the decision in Idaho's case could be appealed, it is an unlikely course of action following the Supreme Court's decision to not hear appeals cases from other states on same-sex marriages on October 6, 2014. The decision could potentially strike down bans in Alaska, Arizona and Montana as well.[8]

Stay of decision

Following the ruling, Idaho filed an emergency request for an immediate stay. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily blocked the circuit court's ruling on October 8, 2014. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the stay is set to dissolve at 9 a.m. on October 15, 2014. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden stated that his office and state do not oppose lifting the stay, although Governor Butch Otter maintained his resistance. [9][10]

Election results

Idaho HJR 2 (2006)
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Susan Latta, et al. v. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Christopher Rich 1:13-cv-00482-CWD
ResultVotesPercentage
Yes 282,386 63.35%
No163,38436.65%

Election results via: Idaho Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot question

The ballot questions reads as:[2]

"Shall Article III, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a new Section 28, to provide that a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state?"[5]

Meaning and Purpose

Statement of Meaning and Purpose

The proposed amendment would add a new Section 28 to Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho, stating that a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in the state of Idaho.

Effect of Adoption

Effect of Adoption

If adopted, the proposed amendment would add language to the Constitution of the State of Idaho to provide that a marriage is only between a man and a woman. The language prohibits recognition by the state of Idaho and its political subdivisions of civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other relationship that attempts to approximate marriage. The language further prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from granting any or all of the legal benefits of marriage to civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other relationship that attempts to approximate marriage.

Support

Arguments in favor

The Idaho Legislative Services Office is tasked with providing an overview of arguments for and against proposed constitutional amendments. These arguments are printed in the state's official voter guide.

As arguments in favor of the marriage amendment, the Legislative Services Office wrote:

1. Same gender marriages are not currently allowed under Idaho statutes, and this amendment provides for the same prohibition at the state constitutional level to ensure that Idaho state courts do not allow or require the recognition of same gender marriages.

2. This amendment would prevent Idaho state courts from recognizing same gender marriages that are legally allowed in other states or other countries.

3. Because marriage is a public institution with special importance to society, the state of Idaho has a legitimate interest in establishing the marriage policy for its citizens.

4. This amendment does not prevent private industry from extending certain benefits to its employees nor does it limit a person's right to name medical and financial agents or to enter into contractual agreements.

5. This amendment does not deny any existing rights under Idaho law, but Idaho's current marriage laws could be weakened in the future without this amendment.

Donors

$27,104 was donated to the "yes" side of the vote through three different campaign committees.[11]

Donor Amount
United Families Idaho Action Fund $14,469
Iva Action Fund $9,385
Marriage Protection Alliance, Inc. $3,250

Opposition

Arguments against

The Idaho Legislative Services Office is tasked with providing an overview of arguments for and against proposed constitutional amendments. These arguments are printed in the state's official voter guide.

As arguments opposing the marriage amendment, the Legislative Services Office wrote:

1. This amendment is not needed since Idaho Code already limits the right to marry to one man and one woman and does not recognize out-of-state marriages that are in conflict with Idaho public policy.

2. This amendment uses the term "domestic legal union," which is not defined and will likely result in costly and lengthy litigation.

3. Because this amendment is broadly drafted, it could be construed to prohibit domestic partners of private-sector employees who receive health and other benefits from access to Idaho courts to enforce such benefits.

4. This amendment could in the future deny same gender couples in committed relationships the protections and benefits available to married couples, such as access to spousal Social Security benefits upon a partner's death, automatic "next of kin" emergency medical decisions and "family member" hospital visitation rights.

5. Just as the United States Constitution's Equal Protection Clause guarantees equal treatment under the law for all persons, Idaho's Constitution is designed to protect liberties and should not be amended to exclude certain people from legal protections.

Donors

$106,378 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on the marriage amendment.

Donors of $10,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
Gill Action Fund $15,000
Western States Center $10,000
Bruce Bastian $10,000

Similar measures

The following are measures that banned or attempted to ban same-sex marriages. Note that a number of them have been overturned.

See also

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External links

References


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