- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Ashley Owens and Brittany Dickerson broke sobbing Wednesday morning after a minor mistake and an unexpected court order halted their dreams of getting married before their unborn daughter arrived.

“We wanted to tell our baby that her mommies love each other as much as they love you that they got married so they can stay together forever,’ Owens said. “We wanted to tell Neveah that mommies got married while you were still in mommy’s tummy.”

The young couple got up before sunrise to walk to the Twin Falls County clerk’s office and stand first in line to get a marriage license after a federal appellate court rejected Idaho’s ban on gay marriages the day before.

But they realized Owens had forgotten her Social Security card. By the time Dickerson got back, it was too late. An emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court putting same-sex weddings on hold was in place.

“I cried for almost 30 minutes in the county stairwell,” Owens said. “My hopes for my family were just crushed.”

Nearly a year ago, the two 19-year-olds became engaged. Dickerson is 33-weeks pregnant, Owens said.

Moments before, the Twin Falls County clerk’s office had been congratulating Don Moline, 45, and Clint Newlan, 58. They were given a marriage license before word of the stay came down.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the two were the only known gay couple to have received a marriage license in Idaho.

“We’re really disappointed in the stay but yet we’re really happy,” Moline said. “We’ve come this far.”

The couple got the phone call at 7 a.m. Wednesday from the county clerk’s office telling them that they could receive a marriage license.

“I looked at Clint and said, ‘Let’s go!’” Moline said.

They showed up wearing matching red T-shirts, light khaki shorts and black sandals. It’s a habit they first started when they first started dating.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Moline said.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said in a he was “pleased” with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s early morning stay.

Both Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden filed emergency motions early Wednesday morning asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block Tuesday’s ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada. Kennedy’s order came just over an hour after the motion was filed.

“We also asked the Ninth Circuit for the same relief, but I’m grateful that Justice Kennedy acted so promptly,” Otter said. “I intend to be faithful to my oath of office and keep working to protect the Idaho Constitution and the mandate of Idaho voters in support of traditional marriage.”

Shaakirrah Sanders, an associate law professor with the University of Idaho’s College of Law in Boise, said it’s not clear how long the stay from Kennedy will remain in effect.

“The next thing that is sure to happen is that the plaintiffs in this case will file their opposition to the stay, and then Justice Kennedy - probably some time on Friday - will issue an opinion on whether the stay should be continued,” Sanders said. “We can’t assume that the court is in any way considering whether or not it’s going to hear the 9th Circuit case.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit’s decision to make its Tuesday ruling effective immediately was unusual, Sanders said, because it removed the procedural grace period that parties to a case normally have to appeal. The stay from Kennedy could be less about wanting to consider the results of the case and more about reminding the 9th Circuit that it shouldn’t skirt the rules, she said.

Several same-sex couples, their families and friends gathered at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Wednesday morning, eager to be first in line for marriage licenses. But Kennedy’s stay thwarted their plans.

Amber Beierle, one of the women who sued Idaho over the gay marriage ban, had hoped to marry her partner, Rachael, on Wednesday. She arrived with Robertson at the courthouse before it opened at 8 a.m.

“We were past the metal detectors, we were just a few feet away from the clerk and then our attorney was handed a one-page document,” Beierle said.

Rachael Beierle, who has had her last name legally changed, said it was difficult listening to the children ask parents what was going on.

“To hear a 4-year-old ask, ‘Why mommy? Why can’t you get married?’” she said. “We’re asking the same questions.


Associated Press reporter Rebecca Boone contributed to this report.

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