Saturday, April 04, 2009

Iowa becomes 3rd state to legalize gay marriage

From the Washington Post via the Houston Chronicle:

Iowa became the third state in the country and the first from the rural heartland to legalize same-sex marriage when its Supreme Court Friday unanimously struck down the state's decade-long ban.

Gay advocacy groups hailed the decision as another example of same-sex marriage gaining traction in an increasing number of states, despite a ballot initiative in California last year that banned it there. They also said the emphatic ruling probably will sway other courts, including California's Supreme Court, which must decide by early June whether the November referendum is constitutional.


The Iowa Supreme Court decision upholds a lower court's ruling that a 1998 state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.


The only other recourse for overturning the decision is a state constitutional amendment, which would take at least two years to be adopted.

At least one group opposed to same-sex marriage, the Liberty Counsel, said it plans to advance a referendum to amend Iowa's Constitution to prohibit same-sex unions. "The Iowa Supreme Court has become a proselytizing engine of radical social change," said Mathew Staver, the group's founder. "Untying the knot that holds together traditional marriage will unravel the family, destabilize the culture and harm children."

More here.

You know, the conservative Christians always insist that gay nuptials will cause all manner of apocalyptic social destruction, but they never quite explain how that works. Will seeing gay married couples make heterosexuals want to get divorces? No, of course not, that's fucking stupid, but nobody in the so-called "liberal" media ever presses these fools on that point. The reality is that gay marriage is likely to affect society not at all, excepting maybe a little more equality for GLBT Americans, married and single alike, which only the morally crippled would oppose. But then, fundamentalist Christians are probably the most morally crippled among us, so I fully expect these buttloads of irrational outrage to do nothing but increase as the US slowly, state by state, becomes more gay-friendly.

What's particularly satisfying about this Iowa Supreme Court decision is that it was virtually predicted by famous homophobe and far right-wing US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent to the landmark SCOTUS ruling back in 2003 that legalized gay sodomy, Lawrence and Garner Versus Texas. That is, the equal protection clause of the US Constitution was one of the deciding factors in the case, and Scalia observed that granting homosexuals status as a protected social group under the Fourteenth Amendment meant that they must necessarily also be granted the right to wed one another. Of course, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on its own state's equal protection clause, but the same reasoning applies.

So I guess Scalia can say "I told you so." Whatever.

On the whole, even though I have a few issues with gay marriage myself, this latest move of inclusion can only be seen as a good thing, and yet another step in the long forward march toward sexual freedom and right of association for all Americans. Man, Iowa. What's next? Texas? Alabama? I'd really love to see married gay people running around Alabama.