The opinion begins with a quote from Justice Blackmun whom wrote the decision in Roe v. Wade
"It is precisely because the issue raised by this case touches the heart of what makes individuals what they are that we should be especially sensitive to the rights of those whose choices upset the majority.
— The Honorable Harry Blackmun"
"This conclusion reaffirms a longstanding maxim underlying our system of government—a state’s broad authority to regulate matters of state concern does not include the power to violate an individual’s protected constitutional rights." p. 3
Much of the ruling describes the six plaintiffs. Here is one that demonstrates Judge Dale's empathy and understanding.
"Demeaned but undeterred by this experience, the couple [Sheila Robertson and Andrea Altmayer] wishes to be married “so that other people understand that we are a family, in a permanent life-long relationship.” p. 11
"The Supreme Court also has recognized that the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment extends beyond the Bill of Rights to “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under the compulsion of the State.” p.20
“'The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men' and women. Loving v. Virginia (1967)." p. 21
"Although marriage is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court has uniformly treated marriage as an established fundamental right." p. 22
"[The defendants'] “new right” argument attempts to narrowly parse a right that the Supreme Court has framed in remarkably broad terms." p. 25
"If every individual enjoys a constitutional right to marry, what is the substance of that right for gay or lesbian individuals who cannot marry their partners of choice?" p. 26
"Just as the Ninth Circuit was “bound by [Windsor’s] controlling, higher authority” when deciding SmithKline, this Court is bound to apply Windsor’s heightened scrutiny to Idaho’s Marriage Laws." p. 35
"Had the Supreme Court disagreed with the Second Circuit [in Windsor], it would not have applied heightened scrutiny." p. 36
"The Laws’ legislative history makes their exclusionary purpose even clearer. Idaho Code Sections 32-201 and 32-209 were both amended in the mid-1990’s, at a time when no state recognized same-sex marriage." p. 38
"...it is obvious that Idaho’s Marriage Laws purposefully discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation." p. 42
"‘preserving the traditional institution of marriage’ is just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples.' Lawrence (Scalia, J., dissenting).
Although the Court finds Idaho’s Marriage Laws were motivated, in part, by important governmental interests, their history demonstrates that moral disapproval of homosexuality was an underlying, animating factor. " p. 42
"... the link between the interest in protecting children and Idaho’s Marriage Laws is so attenuated that it is not rational, let alone exceedingly persuasive." p. 43
"... it bears repeating that the “[a]ncient lineage of a legal concept does not give it immunity from attack for lacking a rational basis.” Heller v. Doe (1993)." p.44
"...the value of marriage derives from a place beyond the law’s reach." p.46
"There is no evidence that allowing same-sex marriages will have any effect on when, how, or why opposite-sex couples choose to marry." p.46
"No heterosexual couple would be denied the right to marry for failure to demonstrate the intent to procreate.
To claim that civil marriage is somehow tied to a governmental interest in procreation is to 'threaten the legitimacy of marriages involving post-menopausal women, infertile individuals, an individuals who choose to refrain from procreating.' Bostic v. Rainey (2014)" p.46
"everyone from multiple divorcees, “dead-beat dads,” ... to prison inmates ... may marry as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. Yet Plaintiffs—six of whom have children or step-children—are deemed unworthy of marital benefits because they might be less fit parents according to an inconclusive body of scientific literature." pp. 46-47
"Idaho’s Marriage Laws fail to advance the State’s interest because they withhold legal, financial, and social benefits from the very group they purportedly protect—children." p. 48
"Even in rational basis cases, the Supreme Court has rejected the argument that cost-cutting is a sufficient reason for denying benefits to a discrete group." p. 49
"...the dispositive principle in this case is that “fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” W. Va. Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette(1943)." p. 54
"... 10 federal courts across the country have in recent months reached similar conclusions on the very issues present in this case." p. 55
"'[T]he history of our Constitution . . . is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.' United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 557 (1996)." p. 56