Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

Back Home

State of Idaho
All in this Region

Current Status

  • Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level since October 2014. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)
  • 29 January 2015, lawmakers voted to kill HB 2 2015, the "add the words" bill, in committee. Members of the House State Affairs committee voted 13-4 to block the bill from reaching a full vote on the House floor. So sad...
  • 31 October 2014, Idaho Governor Vows To Keep Fighting Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Same-Sex Marriage - By Jennifer Bendery with HUFFPOST Politics
  • 24 October 2014, this article outlines Idaho’s legal bill for challenging a federal judge’s decision overturning the state’s ban on marriage equality. All at the taxpayer's expense, of course. See the Latta case below under LAWSUITS-PENDING.


  • After the Hawai'i Supreme Court seemed poised to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. in Baehr v. Miike (1993), the Idaho Legislature amended its marriage laws in 1995 to specify that a marriage was to be between a man and a woman. The changes took effect 1 January 1996.
  • In 1996, fearing it would have to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in Hawai'i, Idaho further amended its marriage laws to prohibit recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Governor Phil Batt signed the legislation, which took immediate effect on 18 March 1996.
  • In 2004, the ID House of Representatives approved of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and its "legal equivalent" in the state, but the Senate failed to vote on the amendment.
  • In 2005, the ID State Senate, failed to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any "legal status similar to that of marriage."
  • On 6 February 2006, the ID House of Representatives approved Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any "domestic legal union" in the state. On February 15th, the Senate also approved the amendment. On 7 November 2006, voters approved the constitutional amendment.
  • Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions from 2006-2014, per Idaho Amendment 2.
  • On 13 May 2014 U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled that Idaho's ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. 

Legislation - Pending

HB2 2015 - an amendment to the Idaho Human Rights Bill to add the words, sexual orientation and gender identity, to be included as protected classes from discrimination. 

Legislation - Enacted

HB 375

Author/Sponsor: Rep Revenue and Taxation Committee
Date Introduced: 16 January 2014
Date Enacted: 13 February 2014


  • Writes into Idaho law – retroactive to 1 January 2014 – that same-sex couples legally married in other states may not file joint state income tax returns in Idaho, meaning they’ll have to re-do their taxes from how they did their federal ones, now that federal law allows them to file jointly
  • 14 January 2014, approved by the ID House Revenue and Taxation Committee 

Lawsuits - Pending

Sue Latta, et al. v. ID Governor C. L. Butch Otter

Case #: 14-788 SCOTUS; 14-35420 (9th Circuit); 1:2013cv00482 (Federal District Court)
Court level: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 7 November 2013
Date of Appeal: 14 May 2014


  • Four lesbian couples, represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Boise attorneys Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the 2006 state constitutional amendment, and Idaho laws, banning same-sex civil marriage and civil unions.
  • 13 May 2014, the judge ruled that the Idaho ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered that his decision take effect on 16 May 2014.
  • The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
  • The defendants filed for a stay pending their appeal, and on 20 May 2014 the stay was granted and an expedited schedule for the appeal was set.
  • 30 May 2014 the governor filed a petition to have the initial hearing for appeal heard en banc.
  • 17 June 2014, the Ninth Circuit ordered that amicus briefs filed in the Nevada case Sevcik v. Sandoval may be considered as also filed in Latta. Oral argument is set for 8 September 2014.
  • 25 July 2014, BALIF Coaltion, including MEUSA, submitted Amicus Brief
  • 19 August 2014, Idaho's request for an initial en banc review was denied
  • 20 August 2014, the 9th Circuit informed the parties in this case that they should be prepared to discuss the standing issue re: the intervenors (Coalition for the Protection of Marriage from ID) at oral arguments on September 8th.
  • 8 September 2014, oral argument was heard by the 9th Circuit. Interestingly, Attorney Monte Neil Stewart, who argued for the opponents to marriage equality in both the Idaho and Nevada cases, is a native of Utah, who moved to Idaho from Nevada approximately 5 years ago.
  • 7 October 2014, the 9th Circuit ruled that the Idaho ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit issued an order to issue the mandate immediately. The mandate was issued the same afternoon. Courtesy of Kathleen Perrin of Equality Case Files: With the issuance of the mandate, the stay is dissolved and the district court injunction is in effect. In fact, the district court now has jurisdiction over the case again and has the authority to enforce its injunction if necessary. The state is now under a federal court order to allow same-sex couples to marry and to fully recognize all out-of-state marriages.
  • 8 October 2014, 2 emergency motions were filed to recall the mandate and stay pending appeal, by Gov. Butch Otter and by the State of Idaho and Christopher Rich. 8 October 2014, the state filed an emergency Application for a Stay with SCOTUS. 
  • 8 October 2014, Justice Kennedy granted the emergency application for a stay "pending further order" and called for responses to the application by Thursday, 9 October 2014 at 5:00pm ET.
  • 8 October 2014, Justice Kennedy clarified that his stay applies to Idaho only, not Nevada. 
  • 8 October 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court recalled its orders implementing its decision of Tuesday on the Idaho ban, and called for briefs on whether it should also do so on its order on the Nevada case. 
  • 9 October 2014, an anti-gay group withdrew its motion to join in Idaho's request for a stay.
  • 9 October 2014, the respondents filed their opposition to the Governor's emergency application staying the mandate.
  • 10 October 2014, the state filed its reply in support of its Supreme Court application for a stay.
  • 10 October 2014, the stay was denied and the case has been returned to the full court.
  • 10 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion to Dissolve the Stay issued 20 May 2014 of the District Court's judgement and injunction. 
  • 10 October 2014, the 9th Circuit called for briefs on the plaintiffs' motion to lift the May 20th stay. Briefs due by 12 noon PDT, 13 October 2014. 
  • 13 October 2014, the Governor opposed lifting the May 20th stay in Idaho and also wants a briefing order on the stay request from 8 October 2014. 
  • 13 October 2014, the AG's Office, for the Ada County Clerk and State of Idaho, filed a response that they didn't think lifting the May 20th stay was correct, but they weren't going to oppose it.
  • 13 October 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the 20 May 2014 stay on marriage equality effective 15 October 2014. 
  • 15 October 2014, the 9th Circuit issued an opinion that explained its reasoning for the earlier order lifting the stay as of 9:00am Pacific Time 15 October 2014.
  • 16 October 2014, Monte Stewart notified the 9th Circuit he was withdrawing as counsel of record for Idaho Governor Otter. Notice was also filed in the district court. 
  • 21 October 2014, Gov. Butch Otter announced that he's filing a petition with the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc re-hearing. 
  • 21 October 2014, Gov. Butch Otter filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc and a Motion to file an oversized brief.
  • 22 October 2014, Idaho governor pursues new test of same-sex marriage - by Lylen Denniston on SCOTUSblog
  • 31 October 2014, Idaho Governor Vows To Keep Fighting Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Same-Sex Marriage - By Jennifer Bendery with HUFFPOST Politics
  • 10 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Opposition to Rehearing En Banc. Courtesy Scottie Thompson via EQCF on Facebook: Heh fun typo in this: "Because the panel in this case correctly relied on existing Night Circuit precedent in subjecting the challenged marriage laws to heightened scrutiny, out-of-circuit cases applying rational basis review do not warrant rehearing en banc."
  • 19 November 2014, the Governor filed a Motion for leave to file a reply in support of rehearing en banc, with attached motion and appendix.
  • 19 November 2014, Governor's Reply in support of rehearing en banc.
  • 21 November 2014, the 9th Circuit granted the request for the reply, but struck the appendix.
  • 17 December 2014, Otter: Supreme Court should hear Idaho’s input before deciding on marriage equality - By Betsy Z. Russell, The Spokesman-Review
  • Amicus Brief of Idaho Governor Butch Otter filed in cases seeking Supreme Court review of decisions from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana on those states' marriage bans.
  • 17 December 2014, Idaho to take same-sex marriage case to Court - By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
  • 19 December 2014, the Court awarded Plaintiffs a total of $401,664 in fees and costs ($397,300.00 in attorney fees and $4,363.08 in expenses).
  • 23 December 2014, Idaho Taxpayers Will End Up Paying Nearly $500,000 For Fighting Same-Sex Marriage - By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement
  • 30 December 2014, as promised by Gov. Otter, Otter v. LattaIdaho Governor's appeal to Supreme Court in Latta.
  • 2 January 2015, State of Idaho v. Latta, #14-788, State of Idaho's appeal to Supreme Court in Latta.
  • 6 January 2015, Idaho v. Latta's cert petition has been docketed by SCOTUS.
  • 9 January 2015, today Idaho Governor Butch Otter lost a legal round today when the 9th Circuit denied his October 21st request for an en banc review of its decision to strike down his Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage. 
  • 21 January 2015, the 9th Circuit issued the mandate, a formality that makes the appeals court judgment take effect. This is the second time the Court issued a mandate. The first time was soon after the ruling on 7 October 2014, but the Court later recalled it on 8 October 2014 by order of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 28 January 2015, and here is Governor Otter's Response in support of the state's petition (i.e., in support of SCOTUS taking the appeal).
  • 30 January 2015, the plaintiffs filed their Opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court taking up this appeal.
  • 5 February 2015, the plaintiffs asked for an additional $297,475 in reasonable attorneys’ fees and $6,730.85 in costs and expenses. This represents fees and expenses incurred since 24 May 2014 in the district court and for representation in the 9th Circuit. The Court previously awarded plaintiffs a total of $401,664 for the period through 23 May 2014. The state's response to the motion is due 5 March 2015.
  • 13 February 2015, State of Idaho's Reply in support of cert petition.
  • 13 February 2015, Governor Otter's Reply in support of cert petition.
  • 5 March 2015, the defendants filed their Response to the plaintiffs' supplemental motion for attorney fees. Governor Otter filed his joinder in defendants Rich and State of Idaho's response to supplemental motion for attorney's fees.

Lawsuits - Resolved

Taylor v. Brasuell

Case #: 1:14-cv-00273 (Federal District Court)
Court Level: Federal District Court (9th)
Date Filed: 7 July 2014
Date of Ruling: 9 July 2015


  • Madelynn Lee Taylor,a Navy veteran, sued the Idaho Division of Veterans Services for the right to be buried with her wife in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. 
  • 17 October 2014, Kevin Wallior of the Idaho Veterans Affairs Commission confirmed to Boise Weekly that Taylor was finally filling out the requisite paperwork to have Mixner's ashes interred with her own at the time of Taylor's passing.
  • 29 October 2014, plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Ms. Taylor seeks "the assurance of a final judgment order so that upon [her] death, [her] burial wishes as a veteran of the United States Navy will be honored, and [her] remains interred with [her] spouse and not subject to further change by the Idaho Veterans Services or State policy." 
  • 29 October 2014, the defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss.
  • 24 November 2014, the plaintiff filed her Opposition to motion to dismiss.
  • 24 November 2014, the defendants filed their Opposition to summary judgment in favor of plaintiff.
  • 11 December 2014, the plaintiff's Reply in support of Summary Judgment, and the defendants' Reply in support of Motion to Dismiss.
  • 16 December 2014, an Order to Show Cause was issued - parties are to submit briefs by 9 January 2015 detailing why this case shouldn't be stayed pending resolution of appeal before the 9th Circuit.
  • 9 January 2015, the Parties' filed their Responses to the Court's order to brief on why this case should not be stayed pending final resolution of the Idaho marriage case Latta (immediately below) in the 9th Circuit: Defendant's ResponsePlaintiffs' ResponseNOTE: These responses were due and filed before the 9th Circuit issued the order saying it would not rehear Latta.
  • 9 July 2015, the Decision and Order were issued - Denying the Defendants' motion to dismiss and Granting the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Per Equality Case Files:
    "Ms.Taylor is entitled to have the assurance that there is a court order in place requiring that what she has a right to have happen if she were to pass away today, will happen when she does pass away. That is the relief she seeks and, equally importantly, her right.
    "Therefore, upon her death, Ms. Taylor shall be interred with her deceased spouse, Ms. Mixner, at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. Moreover, the State of Idaho, its political subdivisions, and its officers, employees, and agents, are enjoined from enforcing any constitutional provision, statute, regulation, or policy preventing qualified same-sex couples from being buried or interred together at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery which, if the spouses were not of the same sex, would be otherwise valid under the laws of the state."

Ballot Initiatives - Pending


Ballot Initiatives - Passed



  • 14 October 2014, a Public Policy poll showed 38% of Idahoans polled thought same-sex marriage should be allowed in Idaho, and 39% thought gay couples should be allowed to marry. Poll Details 
  • 23 February 2014, Idaho doesn't protect gays from discrimination, but Otter says that does not make the state anti-gay - By Dan Popkey, Idaho Statemen. this article mentions lack of polling/data.
  • According to the Williams Institute, as of 2012 41% of residents now support marriage equality. In 2004, just 26% were supportive. Poll Details