- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Two big life changes happened for Mark McLaughlin and Jeff Dodge last year: They became parents and they got married.

Now, Idaho officials say their same-sex marriage license is invalid and so is their marriage.

“It’s extremely troubling,” McLoughlin said Thursday. “Just saying we can go do it again after four months of being married is not really a solution in our eyes.”

His husband, Jeff Dodge, said he will take legal action if the state won’t recognize the 2014 marriage date because of the financial penalties that will occur for having already filed taxes as married.

The Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics said the couple, as well as five others in Latah County who received marriage licenses on Oct. 10, did so before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay blocking same-sex marriage in the state.

Dodge and McLoughlin wedded that same day in a ceremony that included their recently adopted son, Marley, then 2 months old.

Events unfolded rapidly on Oct. 10, when the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals from five states, including Idaho, seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage. Latah County issued the licenses that day while other Idaho counties waited for clarification from the Idaho attorney general’s office.

The attorney general said a final order was needed from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which didn’t end the stay until Oct. 15.

Idaho State Registrar and Chief James B. Aydelotte told Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson in a Jan. 27 letter, first reported by the Lewiston Tribune, that the state couldn’t file the same-sex marriage licenses and certificates because on Oct. 10 same-sex marriage in Idaho was illegal.

Thompson, in a Feb. 10 letter to the couples, said Latah County considers the marriage licenses and marriages valid but recommends the couples repeat the process to avoid potential problems. The county has offered to reissue the licenses at no charge.

Dodge, an associate dean at the University of Idaho College of Law, said he prefers to think of the state’s action as just the indifferent bureaucracy at work.

But, he said, the cynic in him wonders if there’s more going on in one of the most conservative states in the nation that fought hard against same-sex marriage and whose residents passed a state constitutional amendment banning such unions.

“It does run through your mind,” Dodge said, “that it’s just another attempt to say, ‘you’re less than, you’re not the same as everyone else.’”


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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