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Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

This morning the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 1998 state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman. Their finding showed that their state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making Iowa the third state where same-sex marriage is legal.

"The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion," said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.

"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 her partner of 13 years, Nancy Robinson.

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

"We have all of you courageous plaintiffs to thank: Go get married, live happily ever after, live the American dream," he said.

The court's decision should take effect in three weeks.

The case has 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.

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 California, which briefly allowed gay marriage before a voter initiative in November repealed it, allows domestic partnerships.

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.

1 comment:

damian@gaytraveller said...

Hopefully the other states will follow.



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