You are on page 1of 11

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 1 of 6

Deborah A. Ferguson, ISB No. 5333 The Law Office of Deborah A. Ferguson, PLLC 202 N. 9th Street, Suite 401 C Boise, Idaho 83702 Tel.: (208) 484-2253 Craig Harrison Durham, ISB No. 6428 Durham Law Office, PLLC 405 S. 8th Street, Ste. 372 Boise, ID 83702 Tel.: (208) 345-5183 Shannon P. Minter Christopher F. Stoll National Center for Lesbian Rights 870 Market Street, Suite 370 San Francisco, California 94102 Tel.: (415) 392-6257 Attorneys for Plaintiffs UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO SUSAN LATTA and TRACI EHLERS, LORI WATSEN and SHARENE WATSEN, SHELIA ROBERTSON and ANDREA ALTMAYER, AMBER BEIERLE and RACHAEL ROBERTSON, Plaintiffs, v. C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER, as Governor of the State of Idaho, in his official capacity, and CHRISTOPHER RICH, as Recorder of Ada County, Idaho, in his official capacity, Defendants.

Case No. 1:13-cv-00482-CWD


Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 2 of 6

I, Susan Latta, hereby declare and state as follows: 1. I am one of the Plaintiffs in this action, along with my wife, Traci Elhers. I

have personal knowledge of the matters stated in this Declaration and could and would competently testify to these facts. 2. years. 3. In 1994, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from I am 47 years old and live in Boise, Idaho, where I have resided for 22

Boise State University. Later, in 2007, I also earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Boise State University. 4. I am a professional artist. I have been an adjunct faculty member at Boise

State University for seven years and have taught in the Art Department, the Engineering Department and the Foundational Studies Program. I also own an art related business, The Sculpture Studio, which is a studio where I design and build, as well as teach workshops in various sculptural skills to community members. 5. My artwork has been collected by the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the

Boise Visual Chronicle and over 200 local private collections. I have been commissioned for site-specific work by a number of local businesses and residences, including The Grove Street Place, Boise Weekly and Azure Hair Studio in the Linen District. I was also selected through a competitive process to complete a permanent public art project for the Student Union Building at Boise State University, and I am currently an artist on contract for the City of Boise. I have received grants from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and was selected as an artist in residence for the AIR Studios program though the Boise City

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 3 of 6

Department of Arts and History. I have produced eight distinct solo exhibitions in Boise, and have participated in many other juried and invitational exhibitions and events. 6. As an undergraduate at Boise State University, I was a founding member

of the Visual Arts League, a student organization. Since then, I have served as a member of the Mayor's Task Force to revitalize the Boise Visual Chronicle, a member of the President's Art Task Force at Boise State University to determine the management of the University's extensive art collection, and a member of Boise State University's Art Advisory Board for three years. I was also a Livestrong Foundation Artist in Residence for St. Alphonsus Cancer Care Center for 18 months, providing cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy the opportunity to experience the sheer joy of art making. I currently serve as the Vice President of the board of directors for Alley Repertory Theater. I have also been a participating artist in the Valentines for AIDS fundraising event for 14 consecutive years. I have donated my time and my art work to numerous non-profit organizations and community causes over the years for fund raising, including the Women and Children's Alliance, Women's Celebration of the Arts and the Idaho Humane Society's Lawn d'Art event. 7. I have two children. My daughter A. was born in June 1989, and a son, J.,

was born in Oct. 1993. 8. I was 31 years old when I realized I was a lesbian. From the beginning of

this realization, I was able to discuss my feelings with my mother, and she was very supportive. When I came out, my children were ages three and seven. 9. My wife Traci and I met one another through a book club we both

attended. We started dating approximately a year and a half after that, in 2003. I was

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 4 of 6

installing one of my sculptures in Hailey, Idaho, and Traci volunteered to help. We had a twelve-hour conversation that day, and it cemented our friendship. Eventually the friendship evolved into a relationship, and we built, and continue to build, on that honest and open dialogue. I believe that the key to a successful relationship is to find someone that you really like and then fall in love. And that is exactly what Traci and I did. 10. In 2005, we moved into Tracis house together while renovating my

house. We then sold her house and in 2006 together purchased my house from my mother. 11. Traci asked me to marry her in 2004. In 2006, we had a meaningful but

not legally binding wedding ceremony in Boise with approximately 180 friends and family in attendance. We had, and continue to have, amazing support on both sides of our families. Family members attended from California, Nevada, Utah, Illinois, Oklahoma and Maryland to hear our vows and help us celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other. We had this ceremony because we wanted all the people in our lives that we love and that love us to recognize the commitment we had made to our relationship. The ceremony was very meaningful for us, but there was still something important missing because we were not legally considered a family. 12. Later we were legally married in California, on August 4, 2008, when

California first began to allow same-sex couples to marry. Attached as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of our marriage certificate. Neither one of us had been married before. I married Traci because she is the first person in my life that I knew for sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Shes not my girlfriend, shes my wife; there is

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 5 of 6

no ambiguity in that, or in my commitment to spend the rest of my life with her in sickness and in health, until death do us part. 13. Traci has been a wonderful stepmother to both A. and J. Parenting is a

hard job. Step-parenting is an even harder job. Our daughter A. has two children, M. and L., whom Traci and I adore. Being a grandmother has been a wonderful experience for both of us. We see our grandchildren frequently and really enjoy the time together as a family. 14. Traci and I have plans to consult a tax specialist on filing our federal taxes

this year. But even if advised to file a joint married federal return, or married filed separately, it will be necessary to also file income tax returns separately in Idaho, under the fiction that we arent married, when, in fact, we are. In the past I have prepared my tax returns without the assistance of a tax preparation professional. Due to the added complexities the State of Idaho has imposed on married, same-sex couples by refusing to recognize such couples marriages, we will need professional tax assistance. In addition to the extra and unnecessary complexity and expense, it is morally offensive to me to be required to sign an official government legal document that labels me as single when I know that statement is untrue. 15. Since our marriage in 2008, the property we acquired together has not

automatically become community property as a result of our marriage, as it would have if our marriage were recognized in Idaho. In January 2014, we filed a quitclaim deed with the Ada County Recorder transferring the title to our home from joint property to marital community property, with the right of survivorship. I understand this is a form of property ownership that is limited to legally married couples and that if one of us were to

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48 Filed 02/18/14 Page 6 of 6

die, our home would pass directly to the surviving spouse, without need of probate. Although the Ada County Recorder accepted our deed for filing, our understanding is that under current Idaho law the form of ownership specified in the deed transfer is not enforceable because Traci and I are a same-sex couple. Attached as Exhibit B is a copy of the deed. 16. As we get older, we are more and more concerned with the ramifications

of our marriage not being legally recognized by Idaho. Many issues are implicated, including taxes, inheritance, social security benefits, and healthcare matters. In so many ways, Idahos non-recognition of our marriage means we are not treated equally under the law; we do not have the same protections under Idaho law as opposite sex married couples. 17. On a personal level, it is painful that the state that we love, the place that

we have made our home, where we vote and pay taxes, where we have our businesses, where we participate, and volunteer, and donate, treats us as second-class citizens. It sees our family as less important than other families and somehow undeserving of equal protection under the law. I sign this Declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States. DATED the _____ day of February 2014.

_______/s/__________ Susan Latta

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48-1 Filed 02/18/14 Page 1 of 2

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48-1 Filed 02/18/14 Page 2 of 2

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48-2 Filed 02/18/14 Page 1 of 3

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48-2 Filed 02/18/14 Page 2 of 3

Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 48-2 Filed 02/18/14 Page 3 of 3