WestViews: Gay marriage won't damage institution

January 6, 2014 

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

The editorial board has had quite a bit of experience with marriage, both good and bad, although mainly good.

We have no reason to want to damage it, end it or, for that matter, ridicule it.

And we don’t believe extending its benefits to include two men or two women — and their children — in any way threatens the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

Married men and women, themselves, over the millennia have managed to flout the institution’s strictures quite consistently.

We also don’t believe any church should be forced to bless any relationship its theology abhors. The church’s position is one way to help people determine whether that church meets their spiritual needs, and for the church to impart its bedrock values.

So, it is with some interest we observe the increasing number of cases in state courts seeking to determine whether it is constitutional for the state to require marriage only be between a man and a woman.

It’s an issue that’s only about 20 years old as a public policy debate. In 1994, no state had legalized gay marriage and only two had banned it.

Then, in September 1996 the federal Defense of Marriage Act, essentially banning gay marriage, passed. Immediately, 25 states, including Idaho, realized they needed to ban it, too. In 2007, so did Washington.

Last year, however, Washington’s voters overturned that. Today, it’s not unusual for the weekly list of Whitman County marriages in the Daily News to include a couple whose names both sound male or female. Some of them are from Idaho.

Then, this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the part of the DOMA that defined marriage solely as a legal union between a man and a woman.

Now, four gay couples are challenging Idaho’s law and constitution in federal court. They’ll be pointing to decisions made recently in federal courts in Utah and Ohio, both of which ruled against two key concepts: that gay marriage itself can be illegal and that a marriage accepted in one state (18 states now have legal same-sex marriage) need not be accepted in another.

It’s likely gay marriage will soon be a fact of public life in Idaho, as well.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Schools benefactor targets the lottery

Idaho Press-Tribune

A Middleton man who wanted to raffle off houses to help raise money for the Nampa School District has instead been raising eyebrows with a tort claim against the Idaho State Lottery Commission for half a million dollars.

Philip Allaire and his group Enriching Endowments Inc., announced last year that they had a plan to raise as much as $4 million for the financially troubled district. They would sell raffle tickets at $100 a piece for houses, buying and raffling off homes for as long as the campaign could be sustained.

The Nampa School District was cautiously optimistic, but some in the community speculated just how viable the idea was, taking into account the amount of tickets that would have to be sold at that price to generate that kind of money.

As it turns out, the plan never materialized. A legal dispute continues to this day over whether the plan met the rule of law, specifically regarding the transfer of the first property on the 100 block of Summer Breeze Street in Nampa from Luna Property Trust LLC, in which Allaire has ownership, to Enriching Endowments. One is a company, the other a nonprofit, and the complex laws dealing with that kind of transaction have Allaire and the state at loggerheads.

There was also a dustup with the Idaho State Lottery Commission on whether selling the lottery tickets online violated interstate and intrastate gaming regulations.

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