Idaho couples sue state for ban on same-sex marriage

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Illinois residents who follow civil rights matters may be interested to hear that four same-sex couples residing in the state of Idaho are suing the state for its refusal to recognize marriages performed in states where it is legal. The eight women reportedly filed their suit in a Boise court on Nov. 8. The women believe that Idaho refuses to respect same-sex marriages that were performed in other states, relegating them and their children to second-class citizen status.

The lawsuit addresses the tax status of the couples. When filing taxes on a federal level, all four couples are allowed the “joint” married status and its benefits. When filing state taxes in Idaho, however, they are unable to file jointly and must file separate returns as single taxpayers.

In addition, the state’s refusal to recognize the couples’ married status jeopardizes parental custody issues, according to the plaintiffs, and creates problems with medical decisions and visitation rights for their spouses. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled just this year that federal benefits must be given to same-sex couples. In a similar case, the California U.S. Supreme Court let stand the previous lower court ruling that upheld same-sex marriage.

This is not the first time that non-traditional marriage has been the subject of legal action in Idaho; a 1959 state ruling made it illegal for people of different racial backgrounds to wed. In 1967, however, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed such laws a violation of the Constitution. Family law attorneys representing the same-sex couples in Idaho plan to use a similar strategy as plaintiffs in Ohio in a similar case, resting on the principle that a marriage performed and recognized in another state should also be recognized in states where it is banned.

Source: ABC News, “4 couples sue Idaho over same-sex marriage ban“, Rebecca Boone, November 08, 2013

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Idaho couples sue state for ban on same-sex marriage