Court decision sparks Idaho Falls protest

Dave McGrath feels Idaho is treading on the freedom of his family.

“America is a land of freedom,” McGrath said. “These rights are equal to all of us as citizens. Some of those citizens are gay. I don’t know why Idaho wants to embarrass itself by the delay. I think Otter ought to think this over.”

McGrath was part of a small group of gay rights supporters that lined the steps of the Bonneville County Courthouse on Friday to protest a court ruling stopping gay marriages in Idaho before they could begin.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, setting the stage for gay marriages to begin Friday.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter requested a stay to postpone same-sex marriage licenses while the state appealed her decision. Dale denied Otter’s motion Wednesday, but Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden won a stay Thursday after appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

So, rather than cheer on same-sex marriages Friday, the 33 people who gathered outside the Bonneville Courthouse instead stood in protest.

McGrath, 49, has two gay sons and a gay identical twin. He said the U.S. Constitution allows them to marry any adult they please. When he learned of Dale’s decision Wednesday, he said his first thought was “my children are safe.”

But he found Thursday’s court order unsettling.

“We have asked for our day of justice,” McGrath said. “This is injustice.”

Kristi Brower, 38, married her partner Dec. 30 in Utah. When Brower heard of Dale’s decision, she thought her marriage would be recognized in her home state.

“It will have to come from the federal government, this state will never grant us our rights,” Brower said. “I don’t think they have any right to tell me how to live my life.”

Rev. Lyn Cameron, 68, of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Idaho Falls, planned to perform marriage ceremonies at the courthouse Friday. She has married an estimated 60 couples, three of which are gay. Instead, she gave a speech from the courthouse steps.

“We have people among us who are afraid to show their face because of the face of discrimination,” she said. “Equality for everyone is what our constitution promises. “

While McGrath remains optimistic about gay marriage in Idaho, she wasn’t happy about the latest delay.

“I am a U.S. Army Ranger, and in my army you can be gay and serve,” McGrath said. “Our state talks a lot about freedom, but they don’t understand the substance of freedom.”