The Iowa Supreme Court may have not been an obvious choice to overturn gay marriage bans. The Iowa judicial branch wa,s nonetheless, the final word on the legality of the state’s gay marriage ban. The decision made by the Iowa supreme court was expected to divide people no matter what – yet the Iowa judicial branch had a decidedly easy time in making the decision itself. In fact, the decision was unanimous to overturn the ban, making Iowa the latest gay-marriage friendly state.
By a 7-0 ruling, the Iowa supreme court declared that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, making the state a new haven for same-sex marriage for the moment. The ruling came this morning, as hundreds of thousands of gays and lesbians went on the court’s website to await the ruling.
The decision will be made official on April 24, giving couples three weeks to plan an Iowa wedding. Gay-marriage foes will also have a lot of time to declare the ruling an assault on America and the latest example of judicial dictatorship.
The Iowa supreme court ruling declared that “On our review, we hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.”
“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,” the court held in anticipation of outcries from certain demographics.
Iowa’s version of the gay marriage debate began in 2005, when six gay couples in Iowa delivered a lawsuit in Polk County, over being refused marriage licenses. The couples won originally, but the ruling was suspended pending today’s decision in the higher courts.
Iowa is the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, and perhaps the most surprising. When California, Massachusetts and Vermont became gay-marriage friendly, it was not surprising to many, due to the social climate of those states and stereotypes about how permissive and progressive they are. This made it more surprising when California passed Prop 8 in November.
But Iowa is a Midwestern state at the heart of the “real America.” The Iowa Supreme Court ruling comes after countless Midwestern and Southern states delivered defeats to gay marriage.
Assuming the Iowa ruling stands, the fact that it came from somewhere other than the West Coast and Northeast will stand as a major victory for gay marriage proponents.
Attempts by Iowa Republicans to try and amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage are not likely to work, or at least be made official, until 2012.
The Atlantic Political Channel- “Iowa: Same Sex Marriage Is Legal” politics.theatlantic.com/2009/04/iowa_same-sex_marriage_is_legal.php
DesMoinesRegister- “Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman” www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090403/NEWS/90403010/-1/SPORTS09