Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa -- Hurray! Hurray! Hurraaaaaay!

by Laura Smith-Gary

This morning Iowa's Supreme Court declared that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional --unanimously. According to this breaking-news Bloomberg article, the court wrote that in the case Varnum v. Brien, "The language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.”

This is especially important, of course, because Iowa is -- prepare for a shock -- not in New England. Nor is it in California. Iowa's the heartland, the breadbasket, the "real America" some politicians are so fond of referring to. Iowa's Supreme Court acknowledging that same-sex couples have a right to marry is a serious blow to the Defense of Marriage supporters, at least in part because it's impossible to say "Yeah, sure, but come's Iowa" in the same dismissive "stupid effete-amoral-liberal-elitists" tone of voice people use to say "Yeah, sure, but come's Massachusetts." This is one more sign that the tide is slowly but inevitably turning toward affirming the rights of same-sex couples.

Now, of course, we'll start with the fight over the powers of the courts vs. the powers of the legislature. Last year in California a similar fight ended with a referendum vote on Proposition 8 (it didn't really end, of course -- now it's back in the courts and will surely come up for referendum again). Without launching into a full discussion of this issue now, I'll just say that the courts' job (and the Constitution's job) is to protect minority groups from the tyranny of the majority. Rock on, Iowa Supreme Court.

The Associated Press has more.


At April 8, 2009 at 1:46 PM , Blogger LSG said...

Another update in the gay marriage debate:

Now, this man is a governor who understands the whole concept of equal protection, and separation of church and state:

Because of his personal religious beliefs Governor Chet Culver of Iowa feels gay marriages aren't valid, but he opposes an amendment to Iowa's constitution banning gay marriage. He says he can't support something the Iowa Supreme Court says is "unlawful and discriminatory," and that he "fully respect[s] the right of all Iowans to live under the full protection of Iowa's Constitution." He points out, very correctly, that this is about civil marriages, and if religious institutions don't want to perform gay marriages they can knock themselves out not performing them.

Now, I'd prefer if he himself would say that banning gay marriage is unlawful and discriminatory, instead of hedging with his statements in "The Supreme Court says...", but he's being so logical! So constitutional! So not driven by extreme ideology! Good for him.

At April 14, 2009 at 10:34 AM , Blogger LSG said...

And the death threats begin...,0,2602181.story

An openly gay state senator in Iowa has been threatened with death. Because men having sex with other men is clearly a capital offense. Good God, what's wrong with people?


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