Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa says "I do"

The Iowa Supreme Court has issued their ruling:
The Iowa Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Friday finding that the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making Iowa the third state where gay marriage is legal.
In its decision, the court upheld a 2007 district court judge's ruling that the law violates the state constitution. It strikes the language from Iowa code limiting marriage to only between a man a woman.

"The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion," said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.
The ruling set off celebration among the state's gay-marriage proponents.
"Iowa is about justice, and that's what happened here today," said Laura Fefchak, who was hosting a verdict party in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale with partner of 13 years, Nancy Robinson.

Robinson added: "To tell the truth, I didn't think I'd see this day."
Richard Socarides, an attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights to President Clinton, said the ruling carries extra significance coming from Iowa.

"It's a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage. And it shows that despite attempts stop gay marriage through right wing ballot initiatives, like in California, the courts will continue to support the case for equal rights for gays," he said.

Link to ruling here.

Andrew Sullivan nails it:
Two obvious points: this was unanimous. And it was in the heart of America. The logic of civil equality is a powerful thing.

UPDATE from Episcopal Cafe:
For Immediate Release: April 3, 2008
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal
House Speaker Pat Murphy

Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing civil rights

This is a joint statement from Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy on today's Supreme Court decision:

"Thanks to today's decision, Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing all of our citizens' equal rights.

"The court has ruled today that when two Iowans promise to share their lives together, state law will respect that commitment, regardless of whether the couple is gay or straight.

"When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today's events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency.

"Today, the Iowa Supreme Court has reaffirmed those Iowa values by ruling that gay and lesbian Iowans have all the same rights and responsibilities of citizenship as any other Iowan.

"Iowa has always been a leader in the area of civil rights.

"In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided the issue.

"In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated "separate but equal" schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

"In 1873, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in public accommodations, 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

"In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law.

"In the case of recognizing loving relationships between two adults, the Iowa Supreme Court is once again taking a leadership position on civil rights.

"Today, we congratulate the thousands of Iowans who now can express their love for each other and have it recognized by our laws."


NancyP said...

It is lovely to see the Iowa judges, no doubt a "rational conservative" bunch, make this unanimous ruling.

Iowans, gear up for an anti-marriage amendment at the November 2009 or 2010 election. Time to find out if there's a viable petition drive going on to place the issue on the ballot. I don't know much about Iowa law and politics, but I don't see the Iowa right wing being conservative in the New Hampshire way, MYOB, but in the fundagelical MEB (Mind Everyone's Business) way.

(replays Missouri amendment fight)

Anonymous said...

Are you listening, SCoCal?

meanwhile, the Des Moines Register adds that the Iowa Senate (GOP) leader said,
"The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels. I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state. Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a Constitutional Amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people."

The bigots are not done yet. This is a mere skirmish, not a battle, and not the war.


Anonymous said...

More from Andrew Sullivan:

Reactions and
Recap of the argument and review


Ann said...

Maybe not done yet but read the update from the heads of the legislature.

Leonard said...

How unfortunate that ¨sacred¨ doesn´t seem to include anyone other than self-righteous folks, many Republicans, who are ¨dead set¨ on despising/abominating, not loving, ones neighbors or working for REAL PEACE abroad.

Deciding if I´m ¨sacred¨ is not the responsiblity of zealot lunatics...thanks be to God!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The Arc of Time bends towards Justice and Righteousness.

Praise God!

Erp said...

And it looks like it will be very difficult to reverse (an amendment has to pass the legislature twice [with an intervening election] and be approved in a general vote). As the current legislature or at least the majority leadership seems supportive of marriage for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples this is unlikely in the near future.

This is a battle won not a skirmish.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is good news. But the war goes on....

I wonder if this makes any impact on the SCoCal justices.

Further thoughts from me on Taxes, Gay Marriage, and the Courts and a review of the decision with quotes from Law Dork


Erp said...

Possibly. However the problem for California as you pointed out is that amendments are too easy. I do hope that the Supreme Court is considering and fearing the repercussions of going along with all of Starr's reasoning.

The war is unlikely to be over in our lifetimes. Even when the US recognizes same-sex marriages there will still be other countries out there that don't recognize and will continue to persecute and even execute LGTBI people.

Slavery still exists. Women can't vote in some countries such as Kuwait where men can (in others even men can't vote or voting rights are highly restricted so that only a small proportion of the residents can vote).

IT said...

And a woman was savagely beaten in Pakistan for the sin of being seen with a man. Yes, a long way to go for peace and justice in this poor old world.

Cany said...

And, of course, the drums are already beating for an amendment to that state's constitution. Read it here:

And of course... it's all the fault of... those "activist" judges.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"Activist" judges is a tipical American red herring.

The law originally is a practise, and there can be no separation between upholding the law and making it.

Actually, the abstract making/promulgation of law is relatively late, which came with the Idea of Divine Kingship.

Emperor Justinian's Novellae may be seen as a small scale start, Roman "Canon" law as the beginning.

The ancient laws all were based on a collectively agreed view of right or wrong - Political ;=)

The Ancient Medieval written laws (here around 1300) all refer to the Law as something outside themselves. The collective conscience, if you will.

NancyP said...

The Arc of Politics bends towards Stupidity and Meanspiritedness.