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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 23 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 21
Two from the Ninth Circuit: Court expedites Idaho hearing; rejects NOM plea on Prop 8 names
Section One
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Two from the Ninth Circuit: Court expedites Idaho hearing; rejects NOM plea on Prop 8 names

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced two decisions related to marriage rights on May 20.

IDAHO
In one, the court ordered expedited review of the state of Idaho's appeal of a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The judges set September 8 as the date for hearings in the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled on May 13 that Idaho must allow Gay and Lesbian couples to marry. Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden then appealed her decision and asked the Ninth Circuit for a stay pending hearings on the case.

The court then granted the stay, but ordered an expedited review, based on their belief that Judge Dale's ruling would be upheld.

'I find it difficult to conclude that the Idaho ban on same-sex marriage would survive interim Ninth Circuit review,' Appellate Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote.

'We are very pleased that the court ordered expedited review and understood the critical importance and urgency of the issues in this case for Idaho's same-sex couples and their children. We look forward to defending Judge Dale's careful, thorough decision before the Ninth Circuit,' attorney Shannon Minter told the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

CALIFORNIA
In the other decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld the California law that requires disclosure of the names of donors to ballot measures. NOM challenged the law, hoping to keep the names of Prop 8 donors secret.

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit said that the disclosure law has long been established as a constitutional measure to inform the public about campaign financing, and the current suit is pointless because the donors' names are already publicly known.

The lone dissenting judge said that the court could consider requests for exemption from the law based on the claims of harassment made by NOM and its ally Protect Marriage.

NOM Chairman and Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence attorney John Eastman represented his group in court. After the court's decision he claimed a victory of sorts in a statement to reporters.

'We've got people that have been shot at,' Eastman claimed. 'We easily meet the Supreme Court's standard for exemption from disclosure laws, and this court seems to recognize that.'

Eastman noted the majority's finding that the case might have ended differently had the plaintiffs appealed the denial of a preliminary injunction in 2009 before the names of Prop 8 donors were widely disseminated.

'I think the opinion strongly suggests that we would have prevailed on such an effort,' Eastman said, adding that he may use the ruling in potential future challenges to Gay-marriage ballot initiatives in 'half a dozen other states.'

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