Idaho Republican: No Marriage If We Can’t Deny It to Gay People

A Republican state senator in Idaho, Steve Vick, is threatening to take his ball and go home. If they aren’t allowed to keep gay people from getting married, he says, then maybe the state should just do away with marriage licenses altogether. Well that’s one way to make all those dystopic predictions come true.

Vick has plans to meet with the Knapps later this week to discuss the ordeal. In the meantime, he expects the state legislature to address the issue. Vick admits there is no concrete legislation in place yet, but many lawmakers strongly believe the state needs to take action. The senator is personally investigating two approaches, the second of which may come as a major surprise to other conservatives.

“One is to try to re-establish the standing of those who have deeply held religious convictions,” Vick said. “Another potential avenue that I’m exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho.”

Vick admits eliminating state sanctioning of marriage would be a big step, and he is only beginning to explore that option. Still, he said the response so far is very positive.

“I have discussed it with just a few people,” he said. “I don’t have a bill drafted or anything. I have discussed it at some of the town halls I’ve been at. It actually seems to be fairly well-received. In my opinion, if we’re not allowed to determine the standards for a marriage license, then maybe we should just not issue them.”

That’ll teach ’em. You go, boy.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • eric

    Option 2 is an empty threat, he’s just posturing.

    (IANAL but…) for option 1 he seems to not understand the 9th Circuit’s decision. They didn’t rule on standing, they ruled Idaho’s ban on SSM was unconstitutional. AFAIK whoever brought the case from Idaho still has standing to appeal to the SCOTUS, because they never lost it.

  • dobby

    Do the people promoting “get the government out of marriage” understand what it could allow:

    Child brides

    Forced arranged marriages

    Polygamy

    Any number of other possibilities.

  • Kaintukee Bob

    @Dobby (#2) – I’m honestly a bit uncomfortable with the association you are (perhaps unintentionally) making between forced arranged marriages, child brides, and polygamy. Two of those are criminal acts, and pretty much anyone not raised in a society that practices them should consider them abhorrent. The last, polygamy, is *not* inherently a bad thing, though polyamorous marriages would be better (polygamy is one man and many women, polyamory is multiple partners and not gender-specific). So long as there is no coercion and everyone involved is a consenting adult, there’s nothing inherently wrong with polyamory.

    I do, however, agree with you that most right-wing conservatives would see polygamy/polyandry/polyamory as a negative thing.

  • John Pieret

    Another potential avenue that I’m exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho

    Absolutely brilliant. Of course, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal also held that Idaho has to recognize out-of-state same sex marriages. Idaho borders on Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and B.C. Canada (all of which allow same sex marriage), as well as Montana, which, as part of the 9th Circuit, will soon also allow same sex marriage. So all gay people will have to do is cross any border of Idaho, get married and return with full marriage rights.

    But straight people have to also!

    So the major effects of his proposal would be to deprive the state and/or county governments of the income from issuing marriage licenses and destroy the businesses of of those people in Idaho who perform marriages, cater the receptions, provide the tuxedos, gowns, cakes, flowers, photographs, etc.

    Some people are just stupid enough to be willing to hurt themselves to spite others.

  • psweet

    “(polygamy is one man and many women, polyamory is multiple partners and not gender-specific)”

    To be pedantic, polygamy isn’t gender specific. The word you were looking for is polygyny.

  • anubisprime

    Spoiled brats have more style.

    That anyone would actual vote for this ass wipe says more about their eligibility to vote then anything else.

  • dingojack

    At $30 to $50 per licence, I doubt the state will take option two.

    (At 8.6 marriages per 1000 population that’s about $400,000 to $600,000 per year in lost revenue. I’m sure the tax hikes to cover the loss will go down well with those conservative voters).

    Dingo

  • eric

    @2 – how so? I do not see the connection between “we don’t issue marriage licences” and “we allow child brides (etc).” Seems to me that if Idaho stopped issuing marriage licenses, then Idaho would not be allowing any of the things you mention (except as @4 says, in that they must recognize licences granted by other states).

  • Erp

    Actually Idaho already allows child brides. 16 and 17 year olds can marry with the consent of parents. Those under 16 can marry with the consent of parents and a court order.

    BTW I don’t think the Knapps would be happy with Idaho abolishing marriage licenses. Their whole business is marrying people (for $80 or $90 depending on day of week) who’ve just picked up a license down the street (<400 feet) at the county office. They also only do the ceremony (tradition Christian which they've stated since they first put up a web site in 1999) in a not particularly large room, no reception, no catering, so they seem entitled to their religious exemption from discrimination laws (assuming they haven't double dipped and claimed privileges for being a non-discriminatory business). I'm a bit more wary about the county listing them as a place to get married after picking up the license (the list also includes a fair number of explicit ministers as well as a a judge or two); at a minimum the list should state which will be taking the ministerial exemption to discriminate (and possibly list which grounds, e.g., only Christians, only same-sex).

  • dingojack

    Kaintukee Bob – as the law currently stands, all three are criminal acts.

    Dingo

    ———

    Polygamy – many marriages.

    Polygyny – many wives.

    Polyandry – many husbands. (Rare, but not unknown).

  • howardhershey

    So much for the claim that marriage is designed to protect children and circumscribe the legal rights of married couples. Let them all be bastards (a term that only really applies to Vick).

  • scienceavenger

    So marriage is the cornerstone of society, without which civilization will collapse, and if we can’t do it exactly the way we want to, we’re better off without it.

  • dingojack

    eric – and if the state stopped regulating business X, I’m sure they’d not pollute, not wreck the environment, pay taxes, pay their workers fair wages and look after their workers’ health and safety. Of course they would!

    If you believe that have I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you!.

    @@

    Dingo

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    John Pieret “So the major effects of his proposal would be to…destroy the businesses of of those people in Idaho who perform marriages, cater the receptions, provide the tuxedos, gowns, cakes, flowers, photographs, etc.”

    And that could cost the Idaho economy up to forty dollars annually!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    [Also,] Take that, state I’ve never been to!

  • Randomfactor

    This guy’s really into half-measures, isn’t he? His proposal is going to leave lots of married folks in his state. Need to add on a rider to annul all those marriages.

    Better safe than sorry.

  • dobby

    My comment was aimed not so much at Vick as at others who have proposed getting the government out of marriage. To them if the government is going to allow same-sex marriage, then get the government out. One problem with this is that they have it backwards, the government is stopping not allowing SSM.

  • hunter

    Erp @ 9 — actually, the Knapps just changed their website to specify “traditional Christian” marriages less than a month ago. Before then, it was all religious traditions as well as civil marriages.

  • Erp

    Hunter @ 18

    I checked the wayback machine. Their website was talking about only Christian weddings from the beginning though they beefed up the wording a bit more recently.

  • eric

    @13 – the article is clearly talking about not issuing licences, not making heretofore illegal acts legal. And why would you want to attack such a stupid and transparently straw man version of our opponents’ position, when his actual position can be ridiculed without resorting to exaggeration?

  • xuuths

    Modusoperandi, you really should take the time to go and see it. It is wonderfully beautiful.

    http://www.movoto.com/blog/opinions/idaho-aerial-video/

  • dingojack

    I was talking about the principle in general.

    Dingo

  • xuuths

    Erp, Hunter @ 18 was right. Until the 6th of October, the Knapps’ website stated and wedding chapel did civil ceremonies. Only after ADF got involved, did the Knapps change their website and business structure with the state. Until then, they did civil ceremonies.

  • dingojack

    Is there an American version of a common law marriage?

    Dingo

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    xuuths “Modusoperandi, you really should take the time to go and see it. It is wonderfully beautiful.”

    I’m sick and tired of you Idaho fanboys clogging chatrooms and websites with your Big Idaho propaganda! “Ooo! Caldwell’s Indian Creek Festival was wonderful this year!” or “The I95 is paved from Pocatello almost all the way to Chubbuck now!” Jerks.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    I am actually in favour of abolishing marriage. It is a bourgeois semi-religious institution and all the benefits that it provides should be possible to have in other ways. My partner (of 20+ years) and I have never felt a need to “marry”. But we’re not Americans, so that may be a difference.

  • http://dharmaubuntu.wordpress.com/ Aspect Sign

    Dingojack- Common law marriage is a state by state thing. Some states allow it, some only consider it valid for certain purposes. All states recognize common-law marriages that were validly contracted in other states, under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Sastra

    You know what would really bother proponents of same-sex marriage? If the religious people who object would all start getting divorced just to spite us. Yes indeed, that’s the way to get our goat. We’d be ever so hurt and shocked. It would show us just how bad ssm is, that Christians would now rather get divorced than share the tarnished state of matrimony.

    Quick, someone go tell Vick!

  • Erp

    @xuuths From the 1999 wayback copy “Ceremony is traditional, non-denominational” (remember non-denominational is code word for Christian). This was on the main page up until sometime in 2013 according to the wayback machine when their site was overhauled.

    I agree the Knapps changed their business structure at the beginning of October which means they may in future have to forego some benefits in order to discriminate against same-sex couples (previously the law required them to discriminate). I also suspect that they are trying to entice some publicity (they are the ones who sued, not vice versa) and perhaps attract customers from religious Christians (not exactly a small group in Idaho) who would otherwise look askance at their quickie weddings.

  • Chiroptera

    psweet, #5:

    Also, polyamory refers to having several relationships which may or may not involve marriage.

  • http://dailydouq.wordpress.com dailydouq

    Maybe Idaho wants in on the easy divorce thing Nevada pioneered. With no legal marriage divorce should be a piece of cake.

    But the guy might be being sneaky – abolish marriage and that gives any married person standing for lawsuit and then their silly cases to get to court.

    It’s interesting watching this last ditch efforts but thus far none of them has invented as perverse a notion as ‘personhood’ to find a real legal challenge. But I bet they will. These are amateurish legal efforts that the courts will easily swat down, but as we’ve seen with evolution, school prayer, and choice they’ll be back with something the religious members of SCOTUS can sink their teeth into.

  • matty1

    Dingo Jack

    Kaintukee Bob – as the law currently stands, all three are criminal acts.

    Dingo

    ———

    Polygamy – many marriages.

    Polygyny – many wives.

    Polyandry – many husbands. (Rare, but not unknown).

    There is a distinction between not legally recognised and criminal. I’m not familiar with Idaho law but I imagine a woman could set up home with two men, call them her husbands and even go through a wedding ceremony if she could find a sympathetic religion – all without being arrested or charged with anything. She just couldn’t claim the legal benefits of marriage in relation to her husbands so no tax breaks, joint parental rights etc.

  • Kaintukee Bob

    @32: That’s correct. There’s no law against (and no reasonable way to create a law against) multiple adults sharing a living space and there’s no law against (and the 1st Amendment prevents any laws against) a marriage ceremony that does not include a license. There ARE laws against attempting to claim the legal benefits of marriage without a marriage license, but that’s not what’s on the table.

    @DingoJack: ‘Many marriages’ may be the dictionary definition of polygamy, but it isn’t the colloquial usage. The colloquial usage is ‘many wives’. Polygyny, which has that as the dictionary definition (if your comment is accurate) is not in colloquial usage, even in the polyamorous community (though I can present only apocryphal evidence as a member of said community for several years). The dubiously popular TV show ‘Sister Wives’ is where a majority of common public information comes from, and it used ‘Polygamy’ to mean one man, many women, but NOT necessarily many marriages. The man involved, whose name escapes me at the moment, started the show with two wives and a girlfriend, and all three relationships were considered poligamist, not polygynist.

    TL;DR: matty1 in @32 is correct about the legal status of poly marriage, Dingo Jack is dictionary-correct but wrong for common usage.

  • dugglebogey

    This dude may be right in spite of himself.

    Doesn’t the idea of state’s sanctioning romantic relationships seem ludicrous on it’s face?

  • Donnie

    I skipped by other responses, but #2 is fine with me. go to the state clerk’s office and get a marriage certificate and you are married. If you want a ceremony, go to a church or a ball park, or a field by a lake. Of course, this idjiot is saying ‘No’ to issuing any marriage certificate, which I say, ‘fine’ no marriage penalty on Federal taxes. You and your co-habitating spouse file separately but earn jointly. Then, you would just need legal papers providing the power of attorney (which I also know possess issues at hospitals granting visitation rights with administrators not accepting power of attorneys with same sex spouses).

    However, this idiot just solved the marriage penalty for Federal taxes. Not sure how the IRS will respond.

  • dingojack

    Kaintukee Bob – ‘Common usage’ by whom? Citations required. (Particularly of the legal kind).

    And in any case, despite what you might ‘commonly call’ something, the law is a different beast entirely.

    Dingo

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    I really, really, REALLY hope he tries this. How many of his constituents would really like to have all the disadvantages that gays who can’t marry have? Tax advantages, inheritance, medical decisions, child custody, etc., that married couples have but not gays, or for that matter, unmarried cohabitating straight couples. I’m sure that his constituents would gladly give up those perks just to stick it to the ghey.

  • Nick Gotts

    I thought polygamy was marriage with a parrot.

  • John Pieret

    Modus @ 14:

    I know you were joking but …

    John Pieret “So the major effects of his proposal would be to…destroy the businesses of of those people in Idaho who perform marriages, cater the receptions, provide the tuxedos, gowns, cakes, flowers, photographs, etc.”

    And that could cost the Idaho economy up to forty dollars annually!,/i>

    I actually Googled some figures. In 2011 there were 13,696 wedding in Idaho. In 2013, the average spent on weddings in Idaho (last in the country, BTW) was a little over $16,000. That adds up to almost $220 million a year.

    Republicans, the jobs and business creators!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    John Pieret @ 39:

    I know you were joking, but …

    …what about the moral cost of not destroying marriage to protect it from The Gays? Money, remember, is no object when there’s an Unpopular Minority to step on.

  • John Pieret

    Money, remember, is no object when there’s an Unpopular Minority to step on.

    I wish that was funnier than true.

  • dingojack

    Aspect Sign – so then stopping issuing marriage licences won’t really change anything much — unless they move to outlaw common law marriages too (assuming they’re legal in Idaho, that is).

    Dingo

    ———

    Oh and BTW, Kaintukee Bob, I can claim something, but that doesn’t actually mean such a claim, necessarily, has any reality in law. The issue isn’t that persons claim to be married, it’s about whether the state recognises it as an actual marriage in law.

  • dingojack

    Apparently Idaho does recognise Common law marriages but:

    “Idaho does not recognize common law marriages formed after January 1, 1996. Wilkins v. Wilkins, 137 Idaho 315, 48 P.3d 644 (2002); I.C. §§ 32-201, -301.”

    Note also that:

    “A marriage is void from the beginning if it is incestuous (I.C. § 32–205) or between first cousins (I.C. § 32–206). Under certain circumstances, a polygamous marriage can become valid (I.C. § 32–207). Even if one of the parties were shown to have been married previously, however, the presumption of validity operates in favor of the second marriage. Warner v. Warner, 76 Idaho 399, 283 P.2d 931 (1955). Thus, where it was shown that the wife was previously married, had filed for divorce, and the action had been dismissed, the evidence did not show that she was married at the time of her second marriage because it did not show that her former husband had not obtained a divorce or that she had not filed a second divorce action. Nicholas v. Idaho Power Company, 63 Idaho 675, 125 P.2d 321 (1942). If any of these issues are raised, the instruction will have to be amended accordingly.” [Emphasis mine].

    Souce (PDF).

    Dingo

  • freehand

    And in any case, despite what you might ‘commonly call’ something, the law is a different beast entirely.

    Dingo

    .

    Yes, well, the law is a different beast* when referring to marriage, weapon, narcotics, death, touching, consent, earthquake, replacement value and any number of other terms that means something rather different than the legal terms. For example, as a former nurse and medic I will not use “narcotic” as anything other than a medical word meaning opiate.

    .

    * “Specifically, “The law is an ass”.

    — Mr. Bumble

  • freehand

    Jon Pieret: Some people are just stupid enough to be willing to hurt themselves to spite others.

    .

    I thought that was pretty much the entire GOP platform? Well, that and give our money to the rich.