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Posts published in “Day: October 11, 2014”

The state says, and the court says

idaho RANDY

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Idaho's same-sex marriage ban is one of those court decisions worth the read – you can find a copy at opinion.pdf. It's worth doing for understanding exactly what the state is arguing, and what the court said in response.

Part of it is a technical analysis relating to the Nevada part of the case, and not relevant to Idaho. But read the rest and you come away with a sense of just how thin Idaho's legal ground here is.

The Idaho argument has the advantage of proceeding in the wake of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, paring the legal case down to the core. The main dispute: Whether there exists a clear and strong rationale for the Idaho rule (which includes both constitutional provisions and state law) – something beyond simply disliking the idea of gay marriage. Or declaring gay couples as second-class, which as the court said (following up on Supreme Court decisions) it cannot legally do.

The state argued, naturally, that there was. It said children raised in opposite-sex marriages would be better off. But the court found no specific evidence of that. The circuit also noted Idaho hasn't blocked gay couples from adopting children.

“Idaho focuses on another aspect of the procreative channeling claim,” it added. “Because opposite-sex couples can accidentally conceive (and women may choose not to terminate unplanned pregnancies), so the argument goes, marriage is important because it serves to bind such couples together and to their children. This makes some sense. Defendants’ argument runs off the rails, however, when they suggest that marriage’s stabilizing and unifying force is unnecessary for same-sex couples, because they always choose to conceive or adopt a child. As they themselves acknowledge, marriage not only brings a couple together at the initial moment of union; it helps to keep them together, 'from [that] day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.' Raising children is hard; marriage supports same-sex couples in parenting their children, just as it does opposite-sex couples.”

And: “Just as 'it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse,' Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 567, it demeans married couples—especially those who are childless—to say that marriage is simply about the capacity to procreate.” (more…)

On the front pages


Top regional story - though especially around Idaho - was the rapid-fire court action on same-sex marriage in the Gem State. As Friday opened, a temporary restraining order from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was in force, but that stay was lifted later in the day, and a half-dozen licenses were issued in consequence in Latah County. Improperly, though, since the 9th circuit court had issued a stay of its own in recognition of Kennedy's, and hadn't yet ended it. Before doing that, it is allowing both the state and plaintiffs to offer arguments. However, the 9th is likely to end its stay in time for license issuances on Tuesday. (Monday is the Columbus Day holiday.)

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Many wrecks found on Arrowrock Road (Boise Statesman)
Another step toward Idaho gay marriage (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Tribune will add reports from weeklies (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing the Democratic Party in Whitman (Moscow News)
Former Middleton council member pleads guilty (Nampa Press Tribune)
Campaign issue: 4-day schools (Nampa Press Tribune)
Some statewide races see Ds outraising Rs (TF Times News)
TF concerns of losing crop land to development (TF Times News)

More debate over Eugene train noise (Eugene Register Guard)
Doctors in Eugene area unionize (Eugene Register Guard)
Kitzhaber says he was 'hurt' over sham marriage (Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
State quashes bear hunting in spring (Medford Tribune)
Eastern Oregon U struggles with budget (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton council considers taxes and pot (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Governor's race turns sharp-edged (Portland Oregonian)
Thatcher's company under legal investigation (Portland Oregonian)
State employment department computer hacked (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton considers rule on panhandling (Bremerton Sun)
Ferry budget includes runs to Kitsap area (Bremerton Sun)
Review gun initiatives coming up on ballot (Bremerton Sun)
Stink bug invasion at Longview (Longview News)
Rancher tries preserving land from state, erosion (Longview News)
Extendicare deal may help facilities (Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Gay marriage nears in Idaho, happens in Latah (Spokane Spokesman)
Debate in Spokane over city executive raises (Spokane Spookesman)
Parkland complaints about strip club sign (Tacoma News Tribune)
Debate over cost of adopting Clark charter change (Vancouver Columbian)
Teacher at Stevenson investigated on methods (Vancouver Columbian)