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Case 1:13-cv-00482-CWD Document 55 Filed 02/18/14 Page 1 of 7

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


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I, Rachael Robertson, hereby declare and state as follows: 1. I am one of the Plaintiffs in this action, along with my life partner, Amber

Bierlie. I have personal knowledge of the matters stated in this Declaration and could and would competently testify to these facts. 2. I am 31 years old, live in Boise, Idaho, and manage a plumbing wholesale

warehouse. Except for my military service, I have lived in Idaho my entire life. 3. I was born in Kuna, Idaho in 1983. My parents divorced in 1987, and my

younger sister and I then lived with my mother. When I was seven years old, our family moved to Eagle, Idaho when my mother remarried. I was raised in the Catholic Church. 4. At fourteen, I realized I was attracted to other girls. I was afraid of what

my family and friends might think. One day my mother found personal letters I had written to another girl and confronted me about being a lesbian. This is when my life took a dramatic turn. My family adamantly did not want me to be a lesbian. I lost my friends and had little support from family. I did not feel accepted at my school, and I was harassed on a daily basis. To get away from the stress of that situation, I moved into my own apartment in the north end of Boise when I was seventeen. I worked full time to support myself and continued high school in night school, until I graduated and received my diploma in 2001. 5. Two years after high school, I joined the Idaho Army National Guard as a

fulltime soldier in April 2003. I graduated from Army Basic Training and progressed to Army Advanced Training in South Carolina. I was deployed to my first War Fighter Training in Hawaii. I then trained at Army bases in Fort Drum, New York, El Paso, New Mexico, and Alexandria, Louisiana. After training, I was deployed to Kuwait, where I

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assisted in loading and shipping equipment and tanks for the Army base in Kirkuk, Iraq, where I later was stationed. From June 2004 to November 2005, I served in Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom III. As a soldier of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, I drove a Humvee in a convoy in my platoon, which provided personal security for Brigadier General Gayheart. Our convoy was attacked by enemy fire, after which I received the Army Combat Metal. During that tour of duty, I was also awarded a Soldier Good Conduct Medal. While stationed in Iraq, I requested that Idahoans donate small toys and toiletries. When donations were mailed to my base, I then assembled small care packages. I distributed these gifts when the convoy stopped in Iraqi villages, and I met Iraqi children and women. I was concerned for the women and children because the conditions were very harsh on the civilians in that war-torn country. I was honorably discharged from the military in June 2008. 6. After my service in the military I returned home and found employment in

the banking industry. I worked for Washington Mutual and then Chase Bank until I was offered a more advanced position at a local credit union, which I accepted. Even though I exceeded my quotas for the number of loans I originated at the credit union, I was abruptly laid off in July, 2010. I asked my supervisor why, as I had been successfully performing my job. My manager said I made some staff uncomfortable because of rumors about mewhich I understood to be a reference to my sexual orientation. The manager reminded me that Idaho is a work-at-will or right to work state and terminated me without further explanation, despite my above-average work performance. Idaho does not have a statute protecting employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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I then took a position at Keller Supply Company, a local plumbing

company, as warehouse staff. Since working at the warehouse, I applied for and am waiting to receive government tuition assistance available for veterans through the GI Bill so that I can enroll in college classes. Since I was hired, I have been promoted to management. 8. Amber and I are active volunteers for many organizations in the

community, such as the Idaho State Historical Society and the Boise City Arts and History Department. I also am also a member of Rotary International , through which I volunteer for the Nampa Chamber of Commerce and a Dictionaries for Kids drive. I also serve as a committee member for another Rotary fundraising activity called Paws for a Cause. In addition, I serve as a volunteer every year for Run Fido Run, which benefits local animal shelters. 9. I met Amber through mutual friends in 2006. Our paths crossed a few

times over the next four years. We reconnected in 2010. Amber invited my family and friends on a tour of the historic Old Idaho Penitentiary, where she is employed as an Education Specialist/Visitor Services Coordinator. We had a wonderful time, and Amber and I began dating thereafter. 10. On Valentines Day 2011 we agreed to see one another exclusively and

have never looked back since. I knew then she was my one. We share our faith in God and all the goals that truly matter in life to us. Together we have joined the Episcopal Church, where we are active members. We have started planning a family and look forward to raising children together. We would like to get married before we have children. I do not want our children growing up thinking that there is something wrong

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with their family or having difficulty understanding the integrity or closeness of their family because their parents cannot get married. 11. Our parents and siblings have expressed to us that the discrimination we

face causes them pain. We believe that being married would help our families appreciate and understand the depth of our relationship and our commitment to each other and that our being being married would help our families in explaining Amber and my relationship to others. I believe that marriage would bring greater dignity, status and respect to our relationship. 12. Amber and I had a commitment ceremony in Boise on April 16, 2012.

However, we still deeply wish to marry, so that we can make a legally binding commitment to one another, affirm that commitment before our family and friends, and have the legal protections and security that marriage provides. 13. We bought a house together in December 2012. We attempted to get a

mortgage through the Veterans Administration because of my status as a veteran, but the agency indicated it would not allow Amber to be on the mortgage with me. Instead, we took out a traditional loan, which was under Ambers name. Amber then filed a Quit Claim deed transferring the property to both of us, to ensure that my name was also on the title to our home. 14. Amber and I have considered getting married in a state where same-sex

couples can marry, but we want to marry in Idaho, which is our home and has always been our home. As active, responsible, and contributing citizens of Idaho, we would like to be legally married in our home state.

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If Amber and I were married, we would be eligible for spousal benefits

such as health insurance coverage and employee retirement plans benefits. We would like the property we have acquired together to be community property. We would like to file joint tax returns, to be considered as one anothers spouse for visitation purposes at medical institutions, and to be able to make decisions for one another, in the event one of us were incapacitated. Should I die, I want Amber to receive spousal veteran benefits, including both financial benefits and the right for us to be buried together at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery. I understand that while the spouses of veterans can be buried together at that cemetery, the cemetery currently refuses this right to same-sex couples. 16. On November 6, 2013, Amber and I went to the Ada County Recorder at

the Ada County Clerks Office in Boise to apply for a marriage license. Other than the fact that Amber and I are both women, we meet all the legal requirements for marriage in Idaho. The Recorders office did not issue us a license, and the experience of being denied a license was demeaning. The Recorders office employee stated that it would be contrary to Idaho Code, and we were turned away. 17. As a family, as life partners, and as life-long Idahoans, Amber and I want

to have the same freedom as opposite-sex couples to marry the person we love and to share in the benefits and responsibilities of marriage and the recognition and protections of marriage.

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I sign this Declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States. DATED the 13th day of February 2014.

________/s/_________ Rachael Robertson