Iowa Is Third State to Allow Gay “Marriage”

Scroll down for updates.

From the Des Moines Register:

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 court rules that gay marriage would be legal in three weeks, starting April 24.

You can read the full opinion here.

I’m stunned.  I’ll blog more on this later, but right now I’m just shaking my head in disbelief.

Update: Decided to change the title of this post.  Argon asks why am I stunned.  I’m stunned because I grew up here, and have been back in Iowa for almost seven years after living out of the state for awhile.  This decision doesn’t reflect Iowa values.  Iowa is the third state to legalize gay “marriage” after Massachusetts and Connecticut.  I never thought that we would “lead” the nation in this area.  Yes, Iowa is trending blue, but that has been a pretty recent development.  I guess I’m stunned because I had hoped and prayed this ruling wouldn’t come down this way, but I’m not surprised.

More info:

There won’t be an appeal.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone told the Associated Press that his office won’t ask for a rehearing, meaning the court’s decision should take effect after that three-week period.

"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. "This is not a personal thing, we have an obligation to the law to defend the recorder, and that’s what we do."

Advocates against same-sex marriage have said they would likely not appeal a ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.  They plan to ask lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment and put the issue to voters.

That doesn’t surprise me because I don’t believe (I’ll have to check for sure) that the U.S. Supreme Court accepted appeals from Massachusetts or Connecticut, so there really isn’t a precedent SCOTUS intervention.  A constitutional remedy seems to be the only solution, and apparently about 20 people went over to the Statehouse to discuss that with Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy.  The earliest that the citizens of Iowa can vote on such a measure is 2012.

Chuck Hurley, President of the Iowa Family Policy Center in response to this ruling and legislators’ earlier disbelief that DOMA would ever be overturned said:

Hurley said the Legislature should have passed such an amendment years ago. That would have headed off the lawsuit that led to Friday’s Supreme Court decision.

He said legislative leaders contended in the past that no constitutional amendment was needed, because the state already had a law banning gay marriage. “They said ‘The court’s not going to overturn the statute, you’re crazy,’ ” he recalled. “Well, now who’s crazy?”

Also the Des Moines Register interviewed different opponents and supporters of same sex “marriage,” and Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines), the Iowa General Assembly’s only openly gay member was quoted saying, “I’m off the wall.  I’m very pleased to be an Iowan.”

Well, Senator McCoy, I’m not.  I’m ashamed to be an Iowan today.

My wife read an earlier version of this article when the opponents of same-sex marriage showed up to the Iowa Judicial Building, McCoy reportedly said, “Here comes the God Squad.”  Interesting that they would scrub the latest edition.  Is it the Register’s job to protect state senators from idiotic remarks?  Methinks not.

Video: Raw footage of opponents of this ruling being interviewed by WHO-TV (Des Moines’ NBC affiliate):

2nd Update: The Des Moines Register’s Editorial Board is obviously giddy about this decision.  You know the Register isn’t even worthy of being our bird’s cage’s lining, and they wonder why their circulation numbers are bleeding.
Additional thoughts: Bob asked about looking at this decision on civil grounds.
A provision for civil unions would be much preferable than this.  While I’m not thrilled about that either I can see the case for it.  At least contractual matters, visitation rights, etc.  Because really you can do that with all types of relationships.
What the state shouldn’t be doing is redefining marriage, because they aren’t the ones who defined it to begin with.  So same-sex couples can legally get married in Iowa in three weeks.  I will never refer to them as such, because in God’s eyes they are not.
3rd Update:  From around the blogosphere…

And oh, Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) keeps running off at the mouth.  Apparently he thinks it is a good idea for Iowa to become a Mecca for gay marriage.  If his senate district is smart they’d give this loudmouth the boot.  You can watch his video here or below.

HT: Iowa Independent

Also here are some names to remember when they come up for a retention vote (Iowa citizens get to vote to retain judges), obviously vote NO.

Chief Justice Marsha K. Ternus and Associate Justices Mark S. Cady (author of the opinion), Michael J. Streit, David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht, Brent R. Appel, and David L. Baker

Social Media Management


  1. Argon says

    Finally get back to you, Amanda…
    I do not think searching for a common ground is pointless or even futile. It's definitely a worthwhile exercise, IMHO, even if it doesn't work out.

    We share a common biology and we're also social beings. Together, these features do a great deal to constrain us to experiencing similar feelings and ideas. One interesting thing we've found is that during early development, humans seem to inherently reveal similar core tenets (or guiding a sense of what is good or bad). What varies over time and across cultures is which core ideas are given precedence over others. So, if a situation arises where moral ideas “A” and “B” come into conflict, the choice of favoring A or B depends on the culture. It's not that one culture lacks morality, it's that they've got a different prioritization. Humans and their societies really aren't as wildly different as may appear on the surface. Most 'moral' disputes between conservatives/liberals & other cultures comes down to slight differences in the ordering of moral hierarchy.

    The case then simplifies to seeking common values and debating why one moral principle should overrule another in any particular (or general) case. Some cases will never get resolved completely or to the satisfaction of all.

    You cited the case of first cousin marriage, which I don't believe is forbidden in Leviticus yet is banned or restricted in many states. So why did states create those laws? Probably a mixture of genetics issues, which explains why exceptions are sometimes made for infertile couples, and social preference. It is true that first cousins having children is not as risky as once thought and so that's a good strike against that particular prohibition. However, more closely related individuals have much greater risks of having children with genetic problems. So, on that level, I think one could find common ground across religious beliefs for opposing those arrangements.

    With one caveat…
    In the future, it might be possible to reduce the risk through genetic screening and certainly for now, couples could adopt children or simply not have kids. This could circumvent the problems with genetics. We currently don't prevent other couples with known, high-risk genetic issues from having children and so there is a problem of asymmetric application of principles.

    Myself, I don't attempt to justify prohibitions against sibling matches as long as it involves adults, consent and no abuse. I personally find it completely unappealing but that's not an opinion I would legally impose on others. I tend to be libertarian in matters involving love and the bedroom.

    Interesting story here:

  2. shelly bilsborough says

    why are Christians NOT outraged about the amount of adultery committed by OTHER CHRISTIANS everyday, and all the divorces (I do til death do us part) WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE LOSE THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS?