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Same sex marriage (SSM)

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Idaho, case: Latta et al. v. Otter et al.

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Map of IdahoOverview as of 2014-mid MAY

The tenth anniversary of the first legal same-sex marriages (SSMs) in the United States occurs on 2014-MAY-17. It is celebrated by some and is a source of great discomfort and sadness for others. TheSE first legal SSMs in the U.S. occurred in Massachusetts. By coincidence, that day is also the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 that started the end of segregated education in the U.S. -- a process that has not yet completed.

On MAY-13, a District Court judge in one more state -- Idaho -- added their decision on SSM to a long string of 10 rulings made by various U.S. District Courts around the U.S. since 2013-JUN-26. On the latter date, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Windsor v. United States that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and void. That decision made it possible for some legally married same-sex couples to access the 1,138 federal government programs, benefits, protections, etc for themselves and their children -- on an equal basis with legally married opposite-sex couples.

Since mid-2013, ten court decisions on SSM -- one in an Arkansas county court and the rest in federal District Courts -- have all ruled in favor marriage equality! Like the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, they have all based their rulings mainly on the due process and equal protection clauses in the 14th Amenment of the U.S. Constitution. These clauses require state and federal governments to treat people -- and thus couples -- equally.

Following this pattern, on MAY-13, Judge Candy Dale of a District Court in Idaho ruled that same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses and marry, starting on Friday morning, 2014-MAY-16.

However, on the afternoon of MAY-15, as hundreds of loving, committed same-sex couples were preparing to descend on their county clerks' offices the next day to obtain their licenses and marry, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit of Court of Appeals temporarily suspended the District Court ruling. They gave no indication of when it might lift the stay or whether they may keep it in place until the Court issues its decision in the case.

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LGBT symbol Topics discussed in this section:

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Initial posting: 2014-MAY-15
Latest update: 2014-SEP-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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