BOISE, Idaho -- Gov. Butch Otter is staking out claim as the nation's most homophobic state leader, today declaring that he will try to stop gay and lesbian couples from continuing to marry in the Gem State.
Idaho failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay that would have halted gay marriages in that state, so the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved its temporary stay and allowed gay weddings to resume a week ago.
But instead of following the law, Gov. Otter is determined to try and try again. For a second time, he will file a petition with the Ninth Circuit seeking an en banc review of its ruling that went 3-0 in favor of marriage equality. En banc means that a larger panel of 11 judges would re-hear Idaho's case. Legal observers said Idaho's defense of the ban on gay marriage was lame at best.
As of 4 pm PDT on Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit website makes no mention of Otter's request.
The Ninth Circuit, which leans left, could vote not to grant an en banc hearing if a majority of the judges agree with the original ruling. That is entirely plausible since they denied the first request.
Meanwhile, Idaho's anti-gay Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is plotting another course of action. His spokesman told the media today that the AG plans to file an appeal with the Supreme Court, likely after the Hail Mary pass to the Ninth Circuit falls on deaf ears.
Otter is a Roman Catholic who divorced his first wife and later married a former Miss Idaho.
In a press release issued today, Otter contends that the Ninth Circuit failed to apply the correct legal standard to Idaho's marriage laws.
“One of the key arguments against the Idaho Constitution’s defense of traditional marriage has been that redefining it to include same-sex couples would not harm anyone. But the Hitching Post example shows the fallacy of that position,” Otter said.
Ah, the Hitching Post. If you haven't been following this little story, you've missed the news that the owners of the Hitching Post have been scooped up by the anti-gay group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, as a symbol of how gay marriage is trampling all over "religious freedom." The owners of the "for-profit" wedding chapel claim that their constitutional right to religious freedom would be violated if the city of Coeur de'Alene forces them to conduct gay weddings against their beliefs. The city has said this is a trumped-up, phony story, and some gay rights groups have noticed some shady activity involving the Hitching Post website that has been sanitized and revised to make it look like the owners are being persecuted by the legalization of gay marriage.
“I have repeatedly pointed out to the courts that unaccountable judges imposing their perception of social change on the law – rather than public policy being changed through the democratic process – undoubtedly will lead to increased religious strife and restrictions on private property,” Otter said in his statement. “For these important reasons, I will continue defending Idahoans’ self-determination and the will of Idaho voters who decided that traditional marriage is a core principle of our society.”