Same-Sex Relationship Rights
Idaho went all the way and now does not allow partners of the same sex to marry or enter into domestic partnerships, civil unions, or reciprocal beneficiaries. None of these relationships will be recognized by the state either. This effectively means that gay couples have no legal rights regarding their relationship like making a healthcare decision on behalf of a partner.
The Senate approved the bill for ballot, also by an overwhelming majority, primarily so that the law could not be overturned by a court decision. This was an interesting change because in the two years prior, the same bill failed in the Senate because supporters did not manage to get the necessary two-thirds majority. In these two years, both Republicans and Democrats were amongst those who voted against the bill.
The bill was voted on in 2006 and passed. Before voting had even ended, the bill had 70% of the votes. Supporters were in favor of the bill which seeks to overprotect ‘traditional’ marriage, children and the way Idaho has supposedly always been. Opponents on the other hand, just found it to be legally redundant since marriage was already defined as a union between a woman and a man.
Fighting for Basic Rights
Perhaps the saddest and most recent news came in February of 2012. A grassroots campaign to “outlaw discrimination in housing, jobs and education based on sexual orientation” was essentially trampled. The month before had been quite intense for the Senate State Affairs Committee but the majority voted against the bill without calling for it to be printed, discussed or voted on; most of these senators were Republicans. Edgar Malepeai and one other senator were the only two who were heard voting in favor of the bill
All the bill was after was to add terms like “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the state’s Human Rights Act so that LGBT individuals could enjoy basic rights like knowing they could not be fired by an employer for being gay.
Add the Words was in charge of most of the campaign and was devastated by the Senate’s disrespectful reaction to the proposed legislation.
Also, Senator Nicole LeFavour (D) who is the only openly gay legislator, is fed up and will not seek another term.
- Can gay couples marry in Idaho? No.
- Are civil unions, domestic partnerships or reciprocal beneficiary relationships between gay couples recognized in Idaho? No.
- Do gay couples have any legal rights in Idaho? No.