A federal judge has refused to put gay marriages on hold in Idaho pending an appeal from the state’s governor.
U.S. District Magistrate Judy Candy Dale wrote Wednesday morning that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s appeal isn’t likely to succeed, so there’s no reason to keep same-sex couples from seeking marriage licenses or marrying.
Same-sex couples in Idaho will be able to begin marrying at 9 a.m. Friday.
Arkansas, the 18th and most recent state to legalize gay marriage, started issuing marriage licenses on Friday. Proponents of gay marriage, especially those in the South, are equating the current situation to the civil rights struggle of the mid-twentieth century.
Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken says Proposition 8 and the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act helped spur the large number of state-level court cases we’re seeing today.
“I think what we’re seeing not only is a change in policy as a result of these court cases, but we’re also seeing a vast amount of movement in public opinion,” said Balken. “If you were to go back even just a few years ago, you would have found a majority of Americans were in opposition to marriage equality for all residents, for all citizens, and now the tides have changed.”
Idaho is the ninth state in the past year to legalize gay marriage. In that same time, five other states including Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia have put “stays” on same-sex marriage rulings.
The wait continues in Utah for a ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. During last month’s oral argument, Attorney Peggy Tomsic for the plaintiffs told the judges Utah’s gay marriage ban was flawed from the beginning.
“When you have at least two statutes and a constitutional amendment that is directed at excluded only one class of individuals from marriage it is not to reaffirm, it is to exclude,” said Tomsic.
Balken says the ruling from the Denver court could come by the end of June.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.