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Thread: Iowa court says gay marriage ban unconstitutional

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Iowa court says gay marriage ban unconstitutional

    Iowa court says gay marriage ban unconstitutional

    Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, making state first in heartland to do so
    AMY LORENTZEN
    AP News
    Apr 03, 2009 11:05 EST

    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.

    In its decision, the high court upheld a lower court's ruling that found a state law restricting marriage to between a man and woman only violated Iowa's constitution.

    "If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded," the court stated in its ruling.

    The decision set off celebration among the state's gay-marriage proponents.

    "Iowa is about justice, and that's what happened here today," said Laura Fefchak, who was hosting a verdict party in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale with partner of 13 years, Nancy Robinson.

    Robinson added: "To tell the truth, I didn't think I'd see this day."

    Richard Socarides, an attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights to President Clinton, said the ruling carries extra significance coming from Iowa.

    "It's a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage. And it shows that despite attempts stop gay marriage through right-wing ballot initiatives, like in California, the courts will continue to support the case for equal rights for gays," he said.

    Its opponents were equally dismayed.

    "I would say the mood is one of mourning right now in a lot of ways, and yet the first thing we did after internalizing the decision was to walk across the street and begin the process of lobbying our legislators to let the people of Iowa vote," said Bryan English, spokesman for the conservative group the Iowa Family Policy Center.

    "This is an issue that will define (lawmakers') leadership. This is not a side issue."

    The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., pastor at the Maple Street Baptist Church in Des Moines, went to the Supreme Court building to hear of the decision.

    "It's a perversion and it opens the door to more perversions," Ratliff said. "What's next?"

    Technically, the decision will take about 21 days to be considered final and a request for a rehearing could be filed within that period.

    But Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said his office will not 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."

    That means it will be at least several weeks before gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses.

    Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, said the decision addresses a complicated and emotional issue.

    "The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the attorney general, before reacting to what it means for Iowa," Culver said in a statement.

    The case had been working its way through Iowa's court system since 2005 when Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization, filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay and lesbian Iowa couples who were denied marriage licenses. Some of their children are also listed as plaintiffs.

    The suit named then-Polk County recorder and registrar Timothy Brien.
    The state Supreme Court's ruling upheld an August 2007 decision by Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson, who found that a state law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman violates the state's constitutional rights of equal protection.

    The Polk County attorney's office, arguing on behalf of Brien, claimed that Hanson's ruling violates the separation of powers and said the issue should be left to the Legislature.

    Lambda Legal planned to comment on the ruling later Friday. A request for comment from the Polk County attorney's office wasn't immediately returned.

    Around the nation, only Massachusetts and Connecticut permit same-sex marriage. California, which briefly allowed gay marriage before a voter initiative in November repealed it, allows domestic partnerships.

    New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont also offer civil unions, which provide many of the same rights that come with marriage. New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and legislators there and in New Jersey are weighing whether to offer marriage. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Vermont has cleared the Legislature but may be vetoed by the governor.

    The ruling in Iowa's same-sex marriage case came more quickly than many observers had anticipated, with some speculating after oral arguments that it could take a year or more for a decision.
    ___
    On the Net:
    Iowa Supreme Court: Iowa Judicial Branch
    Lambda Legal: LambdaLegal.org

    Source: AP News

    Iowa court says gay marriage ban unconstitutional | TPM News Pages

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Yay Iowa!

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Good. Now if they could all just do this.

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    Yay for us. Sometimes with the amount of Repugs walking around, I'm surprised we're so progressive.

    Maybe we'll be the Las Vegas for gay marriage!!

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    Love Iowa!!! Is it possible to kiss the whole state? This is so important coming from such a conservative state (kinda like macho Spain giving full rights to homosexuals without a hitch.)

    Finally, a state supreme court that realizes that a right can not be voted on or violated by any special interest.

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    Elite Member viggofan's Avatar
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    I say "live and let live" Good for Iowa
    YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT
    (M. Jagger/K. Richards)

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    "It's a perversion and it opens the door to more perversions," Ratliff said. "What's next?"
    OMG! SLIPPERY SLOPE!! Dogs and cats living together!

    Idiot. I can't stand people using an argument based on things that haven't happened.
    "If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention," Heather Heyer's facebook quote.

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    Idiot. I can't stand people using an argument based on things that haven't happened.
    Me, too. I understand the 'slippery slope' concept, but it shouldn't be used to justify bullshit thinking.

    One thing though, how did Iowa, standing out there in the midwest, get so freaking liberal lately?

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    OMG! SLIPPERY SLOPE!! Dogs and cats living together!

    Idiot. I can't stand people using an argument based on things that haven't happened.
    People used the same sort of argument about giving women the vote, too - claiming that we'd have to let dogs and horses vote next. Yeah, that totally happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    Me, too. I understand the 'slippery slope' concept, but it shouldn't be used to justify bullshit thinking.

    One thing though, how did Iowa, standing out there in the midwest, get so freaking liberal lately?
    It's not liberal, there just aren't any Mormons around to promote an agenda based on hysteria. No one looks at Iowa, so Iowa could do the right thing, understand The Constitution, without the typical pressures.

    There are plenty of quiet Repubs who support extending basic human rights to all people.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    One thing though, how did Iowa, standing out there in the midwest, get so freaking liberal lately?
    Quote Originally Posted by olivia View Post
    It's not liberal, there just aren't any Mormons around to promote an agenda based on hysteria. No one looks at Iowa, so Iowa could do the right thing, understand The Constitution, without the typical pressures.

    There are plenty of quiet Repubs who support extending basic human rights to all people.
    Most state constitutions are based on individual rights, so all the judges have to do is guarantee individual rights. A virtual no-brainer.

    Here's a few "activist" judges making a difference!
    03 Apr 2009 01:28 pm
    Those Activist (Republican-Appointed) Judges

    Evan Wolfson emails to note how so many judges who have backed simple civil equality for all citizens have appointed by Republicans:
    Massachusetts (Goodridge, 2003) Margaret Marshall, appointed by Chief Justice Gov. Weld (R) in 1996, elevated to Chief by Gov. Cellucci (R);

    in 1999 California (In re Marriage Cases, 2008) Ronald George, Chief Justice appointed by Gov. Wilson (R) in 1991, elevated to Chief by Gov. Wilson (R);

    in 1996 Connecticut (Kerrigan, 2008) Richard Palmer, Associate Justice appointed by Gov. Weicker (Ind.); in 1993 -- Note that Weicker was a Republican during his time in the House and Senate. He won the governorship as an independent.

    And today, in Iowa (Varnum, 2009) Mark Cady, Associate Justice, appointed by Gov. Branstad (R) in 1998.
    The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (April 03, 2009) - Those Activist (Republican-Appointed) Judges

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Most state constitutions are based on individual rights, so all the judges have to do is guarantee individual rights. A virtual no-brainer.

    Ain't it the Truth!

    The fucked-up irony of the whole situation is the same people who claim to want "gov't out of our lives!" are the first who demand that gov't validate their lives and loony religions by enforcing their beliefs on others through the despicable "Majority Rules!" platform.

    It's why I never trust anyone who calls themselves a free-market libertarian. After having a long discussion, you will find that they want to be released from all laws regarding their own lives and invent new ones to suit their prejudices.

    True story - heated argument with a libertarian once, who claimed that no one can be forced into anything in this country. The food came and he ordered everyone to bow their heads for a prayer. Heh.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    Me, too. I understand the 'slippery slope' concept, but it shouldn't be used to justify bullshit thinking.

    One thing though, how did Iowa, standing out there in the midwest, get so freaking liberal lately?
    Wisconsin(midwest too) and even Minnesota are fairly progressive states as well. I have heard Madison referred to as 'The People's Republic of Madison'
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    I'm so happy! I hope Minnesota gives me the opportunity to cast my vote like Iowans got to!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    One thing though, how did Iowa, standing out there in the midwest, get so freaking liberal lately?
    Iowa swings both ways. HA! no pun intended. We've had a Democratic Gov for the past 20 years. Bush BARELY won in this state in 2000 and 2004. I didn't vote for Bush either time.

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