State officials Thursday are set to authorize paying $456,000 in legal fees incurred defending Idaho’s ban on same sex marriage, including $401,000 in fees to the attorneys who successfully sued last year to overturn the ban.
The fees will be paid from the state’s special Constitutional Defense Fund. The four-member council that oversees disbursements from the fund, comprising Gov. Butch Otter, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley and Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, is set to approve the disbursement in a meeting early Thursday.
Four lesbian couples brought suit against a 2006 state ban on same-sex marriage and won their case in May. The state appealed to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and lost, but has petitioned the circuit court to reconsider and has also appealed to the Supreme Court. Same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho in October.
The amounts to be paid are $401,663 for plaintiff’s attorneys fees, with interest accrued since the judgment was entered, and $55,000 to cover outside attorneys fees for Gov. Otter’s appeals before a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. A separate appeal filed by the Attorney General’s office was handled in house.