Iowa Judges Rule for Marriage Equality

Unanimity in the heartland… This makes what will occur in California’s Supreme Court re: Proposition 8 all the more interesting.

From the NYT:

 Iowa became the first state in the Midwest to approve same-sex marriage on Friday, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

The decision was the culmination of a four-year legal battle that began in the lower courts. The Supreme Court said same-sex marriages could begin in Iowa in as soon as 21 days.

The case here was being closely followed by advocates on both sides of the issue. While the same-sex marriage debate has played out on both coasts, the Midwest – where no states had permitted same-sex marriage – was seen as entirely different. In the past, at least six states in the Midwest were among those around the country that adopted amendments to their state constitutions banning same-sex marriage.

“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision.

And later in the ruling, they said: “Equal protection under the Iowa Constitution is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike. Since territorial times, Iowa has given meaning to this constitutional provision, striking blows to slavery and segregation, and recognizing women’s rights. The court found the issue of same-sex marriage comes to it with the same importance as the landmark cases of the past.”

Here is a PDF containing details regarding Iowa’s judges, courtesy of veteran activist Maggie Heineman

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