Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa's Supreme Court legalized gay marriage Friday in a unanimous and emphatic decision that makes Iowa the third state — and first in the nation's heartland — to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Iowa joins only Massachusetts and Connecticut in permitting same-sex marriage. For six months last year, California's high court allowed gay marriage before voters banned it in November.

The Iowa justices upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman.

The county attorney who defended the law said he would not seek a rehearing. The only recourse for opponents appeared to be a constitutional amendment, which could take years to ratify.

"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 Supreme Court wrote.

Iowa lawmakers have "excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification."

To issue any other decision, the justices said, "would be an abdication of our constitutional duty."

The Iowa attorney general's office said gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses starting April 24, once the ruling is considered final.

Des Moines attorney Dennis Johnson, who represented gay and lesbian couples, said "this is a great day for civil rights in Iowa."

At a news conference announcing the decision, he thanked the plaintiffs and said, "Go get married, live happily ever after, live the American dream." [...]

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on April 5, 2009 at 2:41am
We are watching human rights history being made. In 50 years time our children or grand-children will wonder how we could ever have been so inhumane as to support slavery, the denigration of women, discrimination against people on the basis of skin color and the mistreatment and lack of equal relationship rights for those with innate and genetic differences.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on April 4, 2009 at 1:13pm
Wow! What a wonderful and totally unexpected surprise! Now if only my home State (California) would bring back marital justice for all.
Comment by Jennifer W on April 4, 2009 at 10:55am
wow Iowa before New York, I can't even write a script that unbelievable!
Comment by Dani on April 4, 2009 at 8:21am
Kudos Iowa!!!
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on April 4, 2009 at 6:56am
Great news! Two Australian states are currently trying to legalize gay marriage but the Federal government opposes it. I hope it is only a short-term set back. Great to hear things are changing!
Comment by B-Girl on April 4, 2009 at 12:10am
Never thought I'd be saying this: "WooHoo Iowa!" So, now 3 states have come to their senses and realized that gay marriage hurts nobody and helps many. NJ and NY may be next, it is not looking too good for VT lately, they were supposed to be next.
Comment by Buffy on April 3, 2009 at 6:41pm
Iowa. Who'd a thunk it?



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