Iowa's So Nice I'll Say It Twice. Iowa.

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Friday, April 03, 2009
I wasn't planning to post anything else today, but I'd be remiss not to mention that Iowa has become the third state to allow same-sex marriage (behind Massachusetts and Connecticut). This of course means that Channing Tatum and I could very well take a road trip to Iowa and solidify our love. (The process would be expedited if he knew who I was, but that's just details.)

From the Des Moines Register:

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning upheld a Polk County judge’s 2007 ruling that marriage should not be limited to one man and one woman....

There are no residency rules for marriage in Iowa, so the rule would apply to any couple who wanted to travel to Iowa....


Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady, who wrote the unanimous decision, at one point invoked the court’s first-ever decision, in 1839, which struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.


Iowa’s gay marriage ban “is unconstitutional, because the county has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage,” Cady wrote in the 69-page opinion that seemed to dismiss the concept of civil unions as an option for gay couples.


“A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Cady wrote.

The ruling, however, also addressed what it called the “religious undercurrent propelling the same-sex marriage debate,” and said judges must remain outside the fray.


Some Iowa religions are strongly opposed to same-sex marriages, the justices noted, while some support the notion.


“Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring that government avoids them,” the opinion says.

The ruling explicitly does not affect “the freedom of a religious organization to define marriage it solemnizes as unions between a man and a woman,” the justices stressed.

The case, Varnum vs. Brien, involved couples who sued Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien in 2005 after his office denied them marriage licenses. Hanson sided with the couples last year but then suspended his decision pending a high court ruling.

Read the entire article here.


Read the entire 69-page opinion here. (Heh, heh, heh, 69! Heh, heh, heh!)
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2 Comments

  1. JSH Said,

    I love the irony that Iowa is now officially more progressive than California. I also think its hysterically funny that an Iowa state representative wants to tighten residency restrictions so "Iowa doesn't become a gay marriage mecca." Sorry dude, but it's unlikely that Provincetown will give that title up to Dubuque. Cape Cod has nicer beaches.

    In any case, I hope many more states will soon learn what I've learned living in Massachusetts the past six years; gay marriage is NOT the end of civilized society. Giving equal rights doesn't turn a community into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah with people trying to marry anyone and everything including their dog. In fact, if you're straight, you probably won't even notice it.

    As a straight man, I've only ever felt two things about gay marriage in my state. First, I feel happy that a gay couple can come together to form a family with all of its benefits. Second, I feel frustrated that anyone would put forth so much energy to fight something that is, in practice, so simple, ordinary, and positive for a community.

     




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