— U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale has ruled Idaho's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

In her 57-page decision, Dale stated, "Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love."

Gov. Butch Otter responded in a written statement: "In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Today's decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution."

The court's injunction is effective 9 a.m. Friday.

On Tuesday, Otter filed a pre-emptive motion requesting an immediate stay should the state lose. That motion is pending before the court.

Here more reaction on the ruling:

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry: "Today's ruling from the federal court in Idaho is the latest in more than a dozen rulings unanimously holding marriage discrimination unconstitutional. From Idaho to Arkansas, Utah to Michigan, the courts are affirming that there is no good reason for government to deny marriage to committed couples. As gay couples and their families begin to share in the joy and security of the freedom to marry, hearts and minds are opening, discrimination's barriers are falling, and we're moving our country to the right side of history. As the federal appellate courts now take up these marriage cases, America is ready for the freedom to marry."

Monica Hopkins, Idaho ACLU executive director: "This is about fairness and equality. Idaho couples will now be able to access the over 1,000 civil rights and responsibilities that are accessed through the inst of marriage. Congratulations to all of them and all of us that Idaho is a state that stands up for fairness and equality."

Hopkins last day as ACLU director is Friday, the same day Idaho's same-sex marriage injunction goes into effect. She is leaving Idaho to lead the ACLU affiliate in Washington D.C.

Check back to IdahoStatesman.com for more on this developing story.