Friday, April 03, 2009

Getting married in Iowa is...

now and option for gays and lesbians. The Iowa Supreme Court today ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional:

“We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law,” the Iowa justices wrote in their opinion. “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 concept of equal protection, is deeply rooted in our national and state history, but that history reveals this concept is often expressed far more easily than it is practiced,” the court wrote.

Iowa has enforced its constitution in a series of landmark court decisions, including those that struck down slavery (in 1839) and segregation (cases in 1868 and 1873), and upheld women’s rights by becoming the first state in the nation to allow a woman to practice law, in 1869.

Any attempt to amend Iowa's state constitution would take at least two years, and the state has no requirement that people obtaining a marriage license be state residents.

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