Friday, April 03, 2009

hooRAY for the iowa supreme court!!

Iowa gay marriage ban ruled unconstitutional
State supreme court says law violates rights of gays and lesbians
Dawn, left, and Jen BarbouRoske, pictured with their two daughters, are plaintiffs in a challenge to Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage.
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Supreme Court says the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making it the third state where gay marriage is legal.
In a unanimous ruling issued Friday, the court upheld a 2007 Polk County District Court judge's ruling that the law was unconstitutional.
In 2005, Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization, sued on behalf of six gay and lesbian Iowa couples in Polk County who were denied marriage licenses. Some of their children are also listed as plaintiffs.

The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court in 2007, after Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson agreed with the plaintiffs and ruled that the ban was unconstitutional.
Hanson's ruling prompted nearly two dozen people to apply for marriage licenses in the county, Iowa's most populous and home to Des Moines. Only one couple, Sean and Tim McQuillan of Ames, managed to get married before Hanson stayed his decision the next day. Their marriage stands, but its validity could depend on whether the state's high court sides with the Polk County judge.
During oral arguments before the Supreme Court in December, Des Moines lawyer Dennis Johnson argued the ban violated his clients' due process and equal protection rights.
"We are suggesting that everybody be able to participate equally in an institution that has existed since the beginning of this state," Johnson said during arguments.
Separation of powers issue? Roger J. Kuhle, an assistant Polk County attorney, argued that the lower court's ruling for the plaintiffs violates the separation of powers and that the issue should be left to the Legislature.
"We are not here opposing the individual plaintiffs' sincerity. We are here because, in our view, the issue is one for the Legislature to decide as a matter of social policy," he told the seven-member Supreme Court.
During oral arguments, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus explained that the high court would determine whether the district court erred by finding that the same-sex marriage ban violated the state constitution, and whether it erred by not allowing the county's expert witness testimony.
The timing could be awkward for state lawmakers who are on track to end the legislative session in coming weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, told reporters that it's "exceedingly unlikely" the Legislature would deal with the gay marriage issue this year, regardless of the court's ruling.
"This is the final step in a lengthy legal proceedings," said Gronstal. "We're going to wait and see that decision and review it before we take any action."

this is VERY good news for all sentient beings. i am not surprised, given the proud history of the iowa court, as its legacy includes being in the forefront of defining, upholding and defending the civil rights of ALL citizens, which now includes race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
now if they would just do the same for bicyclists!
the orphanage, and the mostly reverend, is pleased to announce a special offer to all same-sex couples wishing to use the services of the mostly reverend: 50% OFF!!
book soon, don't delay. we'll travel to your special location.


lost78 said...

Woohoo! Seems like everybody's got a personal connection to this case. I'm really pumped to see actual justice from this branch of govt.! Who'da thunk it?

gpickle said...

Great news, has the Iowa Supreme Court ever been accused of being activist judges before?

Brett said...

There is always a 1st time for that label GPickle......but it's probably been said/done before.

What a great day, this set a nice tone for a good bike ride as well. So when do the supposed godly start trying to push this onto court levels beyond the state?

the mostly reverend said...

teh legislative leaders indicated BEFORE the opinion was announced that regardless of outcome, it would NOT be brought up in the final two weeks of this session.

let the battle begin...again.
jesus. i wish they would let it go.

i wish the court would have just taken the state OUT of the wedding/marriage business, leaving that for the church, and issue ONLY civil union licenses.

end of issue.

gpickle said...

I saw the pictured family at the ICPL today. They were checking out books and videos, looked pretty normal doing it.

Go figure.