Gay marriage to start in Idaho on Friday as judge denies stay request


A federal judge has denied Idaho Governor Butch Otter's request for a stay on Tuesday regarding the decision to reverse the state's gay marriage ban.

According to court documents, Otter requested that no marriage ceremonies be conducted until the appeal process is exhausted, but Judge Candy Dale struck down that request.

The state was hoping the stay would be granted in light of the problems Utah officials had when their gay marriage ban was reversed.

Government employees were unsure how to proceed when Utah's ban was lifted on December 20, but an appeal was still pending. The courts issued a stay on January 6.

Otter called the Utah situation an "unmitigated disaster."

"Utah, its administrative agencies, its same-sex couples and its citizens generally have been plunged into uncertainty, chaos and confusion over the marital status of the same-sex-couples who received marriage licenses in that state before the United States Supreme Court stepped in," he wrote in his denied motion.

Following Judge Dale's denial on Tuesday, Gov. Otter requested an emergency hearing first for Wednesday, then for Friday before 9 a.m.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden also plans to continue fighting for the 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban, although his office will not be filing an emergency hearing request.

"We are in the process of filing a motion for a stay," Attorney General spokesman Todd Dvorak told the Spokesman-Review. "We will be gently asking the judge to expedite the process if possible."

If Judge Dale refuses the hearing request, or motions for a stay are denied a second time, Idaho officials will have to issue marriage licenses to gay couples beginning Friday.

Both Otter and Wadsen plan to file appeals with the 9th Circuit Court. Otter has stated that, if need be, he will fight for biblical marriage in Idaho all the way to the Supreme Court.