Saturday, October 11, 2014

County Clerk Who Issued Marriage Licenses to Idaho Same-Sex Couples: 'I Hope I Did the Right Thing'

Posted By on Sat, Oct 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Latah County Clerk Susan Petersen said she consulted her county attorneys office at the Moscow courthouse before issuing six marriage licenses to same-sex couples before closing up at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. Mountain Time) on Oct. 10.

"I hope I did the right thing," Petersen later told the Associated Press. "We're just trying to follow the law."

Meanwhile, other county clerks throughout Idaho said they'll be waiting until Tuesday, Oct. 14 (offices will be closed Monday, Oct. 13 because of the Columbus Day holiday) before they get word on whether they can proceed to issue licenses.

Monday's holiday won't be stopping any legal motions at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which in the late hours of Friday evening received a motion from attorneys representing three Idaho same-sex couples asking justices to lift any remaining stay on issuing marriage license.

"As long as the stay is in place, plaintiffs will continue to be denied the right to enter into or have recognized the 'most fundamental relation in life'" wrote attorneys Deborah Ferguson, Craig Harrison and Shannon Minter on behalf of the Idaho same-sex couples. "They will continue to lack the critical legal protections for their families, such as spousal-visitation and medical decision-making rights in hospitals, that different-sex couples have long enjoyed; and their children will continue to be deprived of the security of knowing that their parents' relationships are recognized by the State where they live. Continuing the stay would visit all those harms on plaintiffs, nothwithstanding that the Supreme Court has now lifted its stay of this Court's mandate. Defendants can point to nothing that would justify continuing the stay now."

Just before midnight Friday, the 9th Circuit gave Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden until noon (Pacific Time) on Monday, Oct. 13 to respond. The plaintiffs may also file a reply to the State's response by 5 p.m. Pacific Time, also on Monday.

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