LGBT rights in Idaho
|LGBT rights in Idaho|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 2003
(Lawrence v. Texas)
|Gender identity/expression||State does not alter sex on birth certificates for transsexuals|
|Discrimination protections||None statewide|
|Adoption||Stepparent adoption legal; No restrictions|
Homosexual activity is legal in Idaho, and same-sex couples can marry in Idaho.
Laws regarding same-sex sexual activity
As of 2014, the state's sodomy law, though unenforceable, had not been repealed by Idaho legislators.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Idaho voters adopted a constitutional amendment in November 2006 stating that "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." Similar restrictions had been incorporated in the state's statutes in the 1990s. A ruling in the case of Latta v. Otter on May 13, 2014, found these prohibitions unconstitutional. Enforcement of the ruling in that case has been stayed while the case is appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court ruling that found the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples unconstitutional. State officials failed to receive a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court while they pursued further appeals, and Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced the state would no longer attempt to preserve its denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. On October 15, 2014, approximately 100 same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses at the Ada county clerk's offices.
Hitching Post Weddings lawsuit
On October 17, 2014, two Christian ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, a married couple, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, asked the U.S. District Court to find unconstitutional the city of Coeur d'Alene's ordinance that bans sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations and subjects violators to fines and imprisonment. The plaintiffs operate The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel LLC, a for-profit enterprise, where they have solemnized marriages "consistent with their religious beliefs" since 1989. They termed it an "expressive business" with free speech rights that the ordinance threatened. The also claimed the ordinance violates their right to free exercise of religion, equal protection, and due process, as well as Idaho's Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act. The Knapps are ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. The Knapps have not been prosecuted under the ordinance, but cited newspaper articles, television reports, and personal conversations in which Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson expressed his view that The Hitching Post qualifies under the ordinance as a place of public accommodation.
City Attorney Mike Gridley expressed surprised at the lawsuit "because we have had cordial conversations with them in the past". He said he only learned from the lawsuit that the Knapps, on October 6, had filed paperwork with the state to establish their LLC as a "religious organization." In a letter to the Knapps, he confirmed that he had previously told them that their corporate status required them to comply with the city's non-discrimination ordinance. He also noted that the ordinance says that it "shall be construed and applied in a manner consistent with First Amendment jurisprudence regarding the freedom of speech and exercise of religion." When questioned by a reporter, Don Knapp said that the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation.
Adoption and parenting
Idaho permits adoption by "any adult person". There are no explicit prohibitions on adoption by same-sex couples or on second-parent adoptions. On February 11, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling and held that an adoptive parent need not be married. It returned to the lower court the adoption petition of an Idaho woman who married another woman in California and sought to adopt her wife's 2 teenage sons.
No provision of Idaho law explicitly addresses discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The following Idaho cities have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Moscow, Meridian, Nampa, Pocatello, Sandpoint and Victor.
On November 8, 1994, the voters of Idaho, by a 50.38% to 49.62% vote, rejected Initiative 1, an initiative that would have forbid state and local governments from granting minority status and rights based on homosexual behavior.
On February 10, 2012, the Senate State Affairs Committee, by a 7-2 vote, killed a bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in jobs, housing, educational opportunities and public accommodations. In April 2014, a series of protests collectively known as Add the Words began which resulted in numerous arrests.
On May 20, 2014, the voters of Pocatello, Idaho, by a 50.41% to 49.59% vote, rejected Proposition 1, an initiative that would have repealed the cities ordinance that prohibits discrimination with regard to housing, employment and public accommodations based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity and gender expression.
Hate crime laws
Idaho's hate crimes law does not address hate crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
- New York Times: "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy," June 26, 2003, access April 14, 2011
- CNN: 2006 Key Ballot Measures, accessed April 14, 2011; Idaho State Legislature: Article III, Section 28, accessed January 6, 2007
- Human Resources Campaign: Idaho Marriage/Relationship Recognition Law, accessed April 14, 2011
- Geidner, Chris (May 15, 2014). "No Friday Same-Sex Marriages In Idaho". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Sewell, Cynthia (October 10, 2014). "Otter says state should comply with gay-marriage order when it comes again". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
- Kreusi, Kimberlee; Ridler, Keith (October 15, 2014). "Gay marriage arrives in consevative stronghold Idaho". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- "Complaint, October 17, 2014". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
- Dolan, Maureen (October 21, 2014). "Legal hitch at Hitching Post". CDA Press. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Zuckerman, Laura (February 11, 2014). "Idaho's top court grants adoptive rights to spouse in gay marriage". Reuters. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Human Resources Campaign: Idaho Non-Discrimination Law, accessed April 14, 2011
- "Cities and Counties with Non-Discrimination Ordinances that Include Gender Identity". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- Russell, Betsy (September 13, 2013). "Idaho Falls bans housing, employment discrimination against gays". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved September 18, 2013. "Idaho Falls has become the seventh city in Idaho to enact a local ordinance barring discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
- "Municipal Equality Index". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
- "Pocatello Adopts Anti-discrimination Rule, Becoming 6th Idaho City to Protect GLBT People". Times-News. Associated Press. June 7, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- Rural Border Town Becomes Idaho's 8th City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance
- Baeza, Benito (January 16, 2013). "Lewiston Adds Sexual Orientation to City Policy". KLIX. Associated Press. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- IDAHO SECRETARY OF STATE ELECTION DIVISION
- "Idaho GOP refuses to ‘add the words’ to prohibit LGBT discrimination". LGBTQ Nation. February 12, 2012.
- UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
- Human Resources Campaign: Idaho Hate Crimes Law, accessed April 14, 2011