The Iowa Supreme Court this morning unanimously upheld gays’ right to marry.
“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision.
The Polk County attorney’s office will not be appealing. Couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses in about three weeks. There is no residency requirement for marriage in Iowa.
Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay civil rights, said the decision is especially significant coming from a midwestern state, and could set a precedent for other states to follow. “It’s a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage.”
“I think it’s significant because Iowa is considered a Midwest state in the mainstream of American thought,” Socarides said. “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa. As they say during the presidential caucuses, ‘As Iowa goes, so goes the nation.'”
Pam’s House Blend has the PDF of the ruling.
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 legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification. [Emphases added]
Anti-gay activists did their best to make a case for violating the civil rights of their fellow citizens, and their heads are now exploding across the nation. As the linked example shows, this will do nothing but make their failed arguments even more sad and ugly. Let’s try to be as kind about it as we can.