Friday, December 27, 2013

Women Fight to Exclude Idaho AG From Gay Marriage Suit

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 10:26 AM

A federal judge has been asked to discount Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden from four couples' challenge to Idaho's 2006 gay marriage ban. - LAWRENCEWASDEN.COM
  • lawrencewasden.com
  • A federal judge has been asked to discount Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden from four couples' challenge to Idaho's 2006 gay marriage ban.

The fight on behalf of gay marriage in Idaho may have gotten a little messier.

A federal judge has been asked to discount Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden from four women's challenge to the state's gay marriage ban, enacted in 2006, the Associated Press reports. 

At issue is what resources the State of Idaho may use to defend its laws against legal challenges. Deborah Ferguson, the couples' attorney, told the AP that defendants Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Ada County Clerk Chris Rich already stand for the state, and that Wasden isn't representing the state in a capacity distinct from Otter or Rich.

"It is unusual to have the state intervene when its interests are already represented through the governor," she told the AP.

Wasden contends that where the state's laws require defense, it's his job to intervene.

"I have an obligation to defend the Constitution and the statutes of Idaho, and that's what we intend to do," he said.

The women involved in the lawsuit are Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen, Sheila Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson. Their suit argues that Idaho has recognized marriages from other states that were illegal under Idaho law—like common law marriages or unions between first cousins—but has discriminated against them by not recognizing their same-sex marriages. 

Discrimination, they argue, has come in the form of more difficult state tax filings, which includes a ban against them filing joint Idaho tax returns and a chance of financial penalties. 

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