Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban

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.

With that Iowa will become the first Midwestern state to allow gay marriage. Or will it?

"The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels," State Senator Paul McKinley, the Republican leader, said in a statement on The Des Moines Register's Web site. "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."

He added: "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."

As I'm sure Senator McKinley is aware an amendment to the Iowan constitution requires both houses of the legislature to pass the amendment in two consecutive general assemblies (two year sessions) and then it must be approved by voters, so no earlier than 2012.

And there's more.

Iowa has no residency requirement for getting a marriage license, which some suggest may mean a flurry of people from other states.

Some suggest? There is no doubt that three weeks from now the Iowa road trip will be a very popular activity for many Minnesotans. And Missourians. And Illinoisans. And even probably some Nebraskans and Kansans.

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