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Friday, April 3, 2009

WOOHOO, Iowa Court Voids Gay Marriage Ban!

DES MOINES — Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Iowa by month’s end, after a ruling on Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court that found unconstitutional a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman.

The unanimous decision moved the heated battle over same-sex marriage beyond the East and West Coasts to the nation’s middle. Only Massachusetts and Connecticut now allow same-sex marriages, while California permitted them for about six months before voters approved a ban in November.

“We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” Justice Mark S. Cady wrote for the seven-member court, adding later, “We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage pledged to fight the outcome, but acknowledged that there appeared to be no immediate way to undo it. The only avenue would be a constitutional amendment, but under Iowa law that process would take at least two years.

Members of the Iowa Family Policy Center, a group opposed to same-sex marriage, spoke with state lawmakers after the ruling in hopes of jump-starting the amendment process.
“A court decision doesn’t change what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Bryan English, a spokesman for the group.

But there was no indication that the Legislature, controlled by Democrats, would take up the matter.

Meanwhile, the ruling set off celebrations among same-sex couples, many of whom had gathered at a hotel here to await word. They wept, embraced, laughed, and wept some more.

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