For hundreds of Idaho couples, Oct. 15 is their first anniversary
. That's because, this time last year, the final barrier between same-sex couples and lawful marriage in the state of Idaho was struck down.
The scene outside the Ada County Courthouse was one of jubilation as couples filed into the building, returning with marriage licenses issued by the county clerk. Many of those couples had been together for years, even decades.
"Once it's official, it can't be taken away," said said Mistie Tolman, who had been engaged for three years to her girlfriend, Karen McMillan, before being able to receive a marriage license in Idaho.
The road to marriage equality began in May 2014, when U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale overturned
the Gem State's 2006 voter-enacted same-sex marriage ban. The Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter dedicated $1 million from the state's general fund to defend the ban
, and appealed Dale's decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
. Idaho's legal representation in Latta v Idaho argued lifting the state's ban would create chaos and confusion—and harm children—but the 9th Circuit disagreed, declaring
the ban "archaic" and unconstitutional.
During the long legal battle, couples like Tolman and McMillan returned to the courthouse several times
in the hopes that the latest courtroom win for their cause would be the last one. Numerous successful appeals
by the state of Idaho, however, delayed county clerks across the state from issuing licenses despite the court ruling. Early in October 2014, community organizations brought wedding cakes
to the Ada County Courthouse in celebration of Idaho's newly married same-sex couples, only to be denied by a last-minute stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Days later, on Oct. 15, those same couples returned to the courthouse with a final legal victory—and the right for their unions to be recognized by the state. They were greeted outside by ordained ministers ready to wed the couples on the spot, wedding photographers, the Boise Gay Men's Chorus, civic and religious leaders, and members of the media.
Check out our wedding album slideshow here