Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada gay couples in legal cases

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Posted: Sep 07, 2014 1:59 PM
Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada gay couples in legal cases

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments Monday on gay marriage cases from Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada.

Gay couples in Nevada seek to overturn a lower court ruling upholding the state's same-sex marriage ban. Idaho's governor is appealing a lower court decision striking down that state's marriage ban.

Meanwhile, gay marriage foes in Hawaii are arguing to keep the legal case in that state alive in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court someday will rule against gay marriage. The state legalized gay marriage last year.

A look at some of the couples who are plaintiffs in the lawsuits:

IDAHO:

In Idaho, four same-sex couples sued to overturn the state's ban and to compel Idaho to recognize marriages performed in other states.

The couples, all women, argue they are denied rights and subject to different tax rules than are applied to families of married couples.

Two couples in the lawsuit were legally married in other states: Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, married in 2008 in California, and Lori and Sharene Watsen, married in 2011 in New York.

Both couples have children but Idaho does not recognize either marriage, which compelled Lori Watsen to obtain power of attorney to legally consent to medical treatment for her son.

The two other couples named in the lawsuit are seeking to wed in Idaho. Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer were denied marriage licenses in Boise. So were Amber Beirle and Rachael Robertson.

The couples were planning on marrying when Idaho's gay marriage ban was originally lifted by a federal district court in May. But before they could tie the knot, the court's ruling was put on hold pending a 9th Circuit ruling.

NEVADA:

Eight couples have sued in Nevada seeking similar outcomes as those sought in Idaho.

Beverly Sevcik, 76, and Mary Baranovich, 78, of Carson City, have been together almost 43 years, and raised three children in Seattle before moving to Nevada in 2003. The retired bookkeepers have four grandchildren.

Antioco Carrillo, 47, and Theodore "Theo" Small, 46, live in Las Vegas. They've been a couple since 2006. Carrillo heads a nonprofit HIV/AIDS advocacy group. Small is a teacher.

Karen Goody, 53, and Karen Vibe, 40, live in Reno and have been engaged since December 2005. Goody is a medical supply sales agent. Vibe teaches music and is a Reno Philharmonic Orchestra percussionist.

Fletcher Whitwell, 39, and Greg Flamer, 42, live in Las Vegas with their 3-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son. Whitwell and Flamer have been together for more than 16 years.

Mikyla Miller, 32, and Katrina "Katie" Miller, 29, live in Reno and are raising 2-year-old and 3-month-old girls. They've been together for 10 years, and married in California in 2008. Mikyla Miller is a lawyer. Katie Miller is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Adele Terranova, 33, and Tara Newberry, 39, of Las Vegas, married in California in 2008 and want their marriage recognized in Nevada. Terranova is a lawyer. Newberry home-schools their children, ages 2 and 4.

Caren Cafferata-Jenkins, 56, and Farrell Cafferata-Jenkins, 51, live in Carson City with their boys, ages 10 and 9, and are seeking recognition of their California marriage. Caren Cafferata-Jenkins is executive director of the Nevada Ethics Commission. Farrell Cafferata-Jenkins is president and founder of the Nevada Academy of Sign Language.

Megan Lanz, 33, and Sara Geiger, 29, live in Las Vegas with their daughter. They are seeking recognition of their 2006 marriage in Canada. Both are musicians.

HAWAII:

Gay couples can wed in Hawaii since lawmakers legalized same-sex marriages in December. The question before the 9th Circuit is whether the case is moot now that those couples named in the lawsuit can marry, or have married.

One couple says they are frustrated legal wrangling continues even after the law was passed.

"It's done, it's over, move on," said Gary Bradley of Honolulu. "I seriously can't believe they want to rehash something that is already done."

Bradley joined the lawsuit because he wanted to marry Paul Perry, an Australian citizen who wanted to live in the U.S. legally. Bradley and Perry were among the first couples to marry in a midnight ceremony after Hawaii's law went into effect.

Bradley joined in as a plaintiff when Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid filed their lawsuit in 2011. They wanted to marry but could not when the suit was filed.

The women changed their last name to Jackson-Kleid after they were married when gay marriage was legalized in Hawaii almost three years later. Now Natasha, 33, is a stay-at-home mom for their daughter, and Janin, 32, is a carpenter's apprentice.

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Associated Press writers Kimberlee Kruesi in Boise, Idaho, Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.