Our View: Gay Marriage Fight Bets Taxpayer Dollars on Losing Hand

2014-01-05T02:00:00Z Our View: Gay Marriage Fight Bets Taxpayer Dollars on Losing Hand Twin Falls Times-News
January 05, 2014 2:00 am

A state constitutional ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Court after court has reached the same conclusion in recent years, most notably last month in Utah.

So we were perplexed when Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter pledged Friday to write a blank check to fight a skirmish he can’t win.

Otter said he’s willing to cough up whatever is needed to defend in federal court Idaho’s 2006 constitutional amendment, which says the only recognized legal union in the state is between a man and a woman. It’s a multimillion-dollar bet on an empty hand. It’s an irresponsible, symbolic move at a time when Idaho’s schools are failing and its roads are crumbling.

The two-term Republican made the state Constitution sound as if it was written in stone and altering the document is sacrilege. But they’re called “amendments” for a reason. Flexibility is the point.

State House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Senate Pro Tempore Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, sounded a similar battle cry, arguing that it’s the state’s duty to safeguard the same-sex marriage ban, even as evidence mounts that it flies in the face of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“I’m not one to vacate the field on this one,” Bedke said.

We understand that gay marriage is a sensitive, incredibly personal issue for many. But the dominoes are falling, sometimes in federal court and other times on legislative floors. History won’t look kindly on those who took the wrong side of this era’s civil rights issue. Do we really want to spend millions so we can be remembered in 50 years as one of “those states”?

Utah is taking its appeal of U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Utah Attorney General’s Office estimated last week that the appeal will cost at least $2 million. That doesn’t even take into account the time and money already spent on the original case. Even the Roberts Court doesn’t bode well for the state. These are the same justices who last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The evidence is clear that Idaho will lose its case against four Ada County couples. Fighting it with all the legal power the state can muster is nothing but taxpayer-funded, election-year pandering.

Idaho has real, concrete problems that could use an extra few million bucks. Waging this hopeless war only serves to earn unflattering mentions in future textbooks.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(20) Comments

  1. duke
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    duke - January 12, 2014 1:15 pm
    are you ok now with obamacare now?if you are who is paying for your insurance???
  2. duke
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    duke - January 06, 2014 1:39 pm
    lets see how this all works out in the long run,i see next ,every one can have more then one wife or husband,,how would that be any different then what this is??????????
  3. SKC_ID
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    SKC_ID - January 06, 2014 8:38 am
    I have to say that I enjoyed reading vallyglenn 's comments very much. Your posts were loaded with facts and common sense and I applaud that. Sadly, facts and common sense will be lost on some readers though, as I'm sure you have seen here. Anyway, I'm sure your posts are appreciated by many.
  4. elcty
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    elcty - January 06, 2014 8:02 am
    There have been gay people since the ratification of the 14th amendment. Why in the last two decades are they demanding to marry someone of the same gender and why don't they pay the legal fees of the state in defending the will of the voters.

    Marriage between a Man and a Woman existed before this country was formed can't have it both ways. You can marry anyone of the opposite sex of age. All people not married it is sinful to have relations out of marriage. People still believe in chastityand fidelity.
  5. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 06, 2014 4:01 am
    begi, the U.S. Constitution is not being changed...the Constitution is just being followed. The 14th Amendment already guarantees ALL citizens that ALL laws are applied equally. This includes laws relating to civil marriage.

    These judges are not radicals or activists. Most, in fact, are conservative Republicans, appointed by Republicans, and have histories of conservative decisions.
    This is not brain surgery. It is a logical, straight forward reading of the U.S. Constitution which promises equality for ALL it's citizens..even if the majority doesn't like it!
  6. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 06, 2014 3:52 am
    How in the world are you being discriminated against? Are you being forced to marry a person of the same gender, or is your heterosexual marriage limited in some way? Please indicate just ONE way you are affected by my marriage.

    And again, the majority does not get to decide on Constitutionally protected Civil Rights!
    Or do you think the majority should always be able to do so, in every situation?
  7. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 06, 2014 3:43 am
    ..by the way, there are millions of Americans who believe in God, and believe that God blesses and celebrates same gender marriage. Your beliefs are but one interpretation of one Religion, There are many Religions, and then there are Theists who believe in God, but not organized religion. There are also many Christian and Jewish denominations that have a different understanding of the Word of God then you, and sanctify same gender relationships.

    In the U.S., everyone is free to hold their own beliefs about God, and none of them are made into law...including yours, including mine.
  8. begi
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    begi - January 05, 2014 7:13 pm
    Deuce, twelve states and the voters voted no to gay marriage, all twelve were over turned by one or few judges, the majority were over ruled. The constitution is being changed illegally. It has happened a number of times already with this lawless administration we now have. Example the aca law. Obama gas changed the law many times without running the changes through the house or senate. Just saying lawlessness run a muck.
  9. begi
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    begi - January 05, 2014 7:08 pm
    I stand corrected, I misspoke about the USA being a democracy. You are correct it is a republic. And yes there are three branches in the government to protect the constitutional rights of everyone. That is not happening because thus far the govt is discriminating against those who disagree with gay marriage. As I see it let the majority decide and chill out. That's all.
  10. deuce
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    deuce - January 05, 2014 5:31 pm
    Valleyglenn, You have totally nailed it. Luckily people in judicially appointed positions also get it and are correctly interpreting the law. There will some posturing for awhile, but the tides have turned. 12 states in the last 6 months.

    For those who say they are being discriminated against because gay marriages are allowed, I say show us how your life is affected and how discrimination applies to you.

    Discrimination- restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making
  11. begi
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    begi - January 05, 2014 4:56 pm
    I stand corrected, I misspoke about the USA being a democracy. You are correct it is a republic. And yes there are three branches in the government to protect the constitutional rights of everyone. That is not happening because thus far the govt is discriminating against those who disagree with gay marriage. As I see it let the majority decide and chill out. That's all.
  12. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 05, 2014 4:37 pm
    The U.S. is NOT a true democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic. That means that not everything is up to a vote..most importantly, Constitutional Rights.
    The founding fathers designed a three branched government specifically to protect the rights of minorities from the whims of the majority.
  13. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 05, 2014 4:29 pm
    elcty, none of the different attributes that men and women have are necessary for a marital relationship. The ability to reproduce is necessary only for parenthood, not marriage.
    My marital relationship to my husband is no different then any straight marital relationship.

    It seems almost all of the judges..many Conservative, Republican appointees, disagree with your evaluation. In just about every court case, there has been no compelling argument why gay couples should be excluded from civil marriage. And without a compelling argument, the U.S. Constitution requires all are treated equally under the law. Even if the voters want otherwise.

    This is not "Judicial Activism". This if following the U.S. Constitution.
  14. elcty
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    elcty - January 05, 2014 2:24 pm
    In 2006 Idaho already did, As did most of the people in most of the states that it has been up too. Constitutional amendment proposed too to make marriage between one man and one women but getting 2 out of 3 senators and 3 out of four states to vote on that was hard.
  15. elcty
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    elcty - January 05, 2014 2:22 pm
    Gay people are not banned from getting drivers license's or doing any other thing other people can do. There always have been laws on marriage sibling, age, mental development and the like. People's lack of belief about God should not be given more privelege's than those that believe in him.

    Equal protection does not mention marriage. Gender is different for a reason and men and women have different characteristics and attributes, that are necessary. No one is spying in bedrooms or asking people about sexuality in jobs. Right to marry has always been between Man and Women and most states voted to keep it that way.
  16. begi
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    begi - January 05, 2014 12:49 pm
    If we are a true democracy, let the people speak. Put the issue on the damn ballot and have a vote. Let the will of the people have the last word. Its that simple.
  17. vallyglenn
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    vallyglenn - January 05, 2014 10:59 am
    elcty,
    -A court can declare a State Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution overrides the State Constitution.

    -Your beliefs about God are irrelevant to American law. People have different beliefs about God, and none are regarded more than others when it comes to civil law.

    -the 14th Amendment covers ALL civil laws..including civil marriage laws. The 14th Amendment doesn't specifically mention drivers licenses, but a state can not vote to ban gay people from getting a driver's license either.
  18. elcty
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    elcty - January 05, 2014 9:53 am
    As for how much it costs in Utah less than $2.00 a person Idaho same it is just French fries at Mcdonalds per person so very little.
  19. elcty
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    elcty - January 05, 2014 9:52 am
    How can a court declare a constitutional law unconstitutional. Not all judges agree on the matter. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Those judges who overturn the will of the people and what God has said will have to answer to him.

    In Utah Same Gender marriage will again not be allowed and the right to marry someone of the same gender never has been a right. Some judge just found it. The majority of people in the majority of states voted to keep marriage between a Man and a Woman what right does a judge have to overturn It? Nice if the Constitutional amendment would of passed. Marriage is not mentioned in the 14th amendment so why is some judges just now finding that out.
  20. SKC_ID
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    SKC_ID - January 05, 2014 8:27 am
    It's just like Republicans trying, and failing, over 30 times, to repeal the ACA. They have learned absolutely nothing from that.

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