Monday, April 06, 2009

Iowa approves same-sex marriages!!!

Iowa last Friday joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in allowing gay marriages. Not only did the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in our favor, but they did so unanimously, unlike the other 3 courts that found in favor of gay marriage so far -- California, alas, had joined the 'progressives' club, but the religious fundamentalists were able to undo that ruling.

They will not be as lucky in Iowa, or at least not very easily. Amending the Iowan Constitution is not a straightforward process as it was in California. The earliest they could get an amendment on the ballot is 2012 and by then it's unlikely they would be successful. Timing, I'm sure, is the only reason they succeeded in California.

From Yahoo!:
Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage
DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa's Supreme Court legalized gay marriage Friday in a unanimous and emphatic decision that makes Iowa the third state — and first in the nation's heartland — to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The Iowa justices upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman.

The county attorney who defended the law said he would not seek a rehearing. The only recourse for opponents appeared to be a constitutional amendment, which could take years to ratify.

"We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective," the Supreme Court wrote.

Iowa lawmakers have "excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification."

To issue any other decision, the justices said, "would be an abdication of our constitutional duty."

The Iowa attorney general's office said gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses starting April 24, once the ruling is considered final.
John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University, said Iowa's status as a largely rural, Midwest state could enforce an argument that gay marriage is no longer a fringe issue.

"When it was only California and Massachusetts, it could be perceived as extremism on the coasts and not related to core American values.

"But as it extends to states like Iowa, and as attitudes toward gay marriage have evidently changed, then people will look at it as an example of broad acceptance," Logan said.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said his office will not ask for the case to be reconsidered.

"Our Supreme Court has decided it, and they make the decision as to what the law is, and we follow Supreme Court decisions," Sarcone said.

Gay marriage opponents have no other legal options to appeal the case to the state or federal level because they were not parties to the lawsuit, and there is no federal issue raised in the case, Sarcone said.
Given its geographical location, Iowa is considered part of the Midwest, a historically conservative area, so reading the following was really surprising:
Iowa has a history of being in the forefront on social issues. It was among the first states to legalize interracial marriage and to allow married women to own property. It was also the first state to admit a woman to the bar to practice law and was a leader in school desegregation.

More from the Des Moines Register here.

No comments: