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Iowa overturns gay marriage ban
April 3, 2009 7:35 AM   Subscribe

The Iowa Supreme Court has just unanimously declared the state's ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. "The decision strikes the language from Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman. It further directs that the remaining statutory language be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage." (full summary PDF) The ruling effectively legalizes same-sex marriage in the state of Iowa.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (221 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
CELEBRAMOS!
posted by Jofus at 7:36 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It does until the next initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. This is awesome, but likely only temporarily awesome.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:37 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Civil rights, FTW.
posted by Smarson at 7:38 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Go Iowa.

*frustrated New Yorker*
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:39 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is stupendous news. Hopefully Iowa, unlike California, has laws that don't allow civil rights to be removed by a simple majority. I'd also guess that because of CA's Prop 8, supporters in Iowa will be anything but complacent should this come up on a ballot.
posted by explosion at 7:39 AM on April 3, 2009


.

(That was for the patriarchy.)
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Congratulations, Iowa!
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


*frustrated New Yorker*

Doesn't New York recognize same-sex marriages, even though it doesn't issue them? Just come on over to Massachusetts and we'll hook you up!
posted by explosion at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009


Is this Heaven?
posted by Reverend John at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009 [12 favorites]


It does until the next initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

I'm not a lawyer. Would this amendment violate the US Equal Protection clause just as it violates the Iowa Equal Protection Clause? Do federal courts overrule state constitutions using the federal constitution?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009


Also I love Iowa for many reasons including this one.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009


This is fantastic news.
posted by minifigs at 7:42 AM on April 3, 2009


This, while a great thing for the Iowa S.C. to realize, will not go over well in most of Iowa.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 7:43 AM on April 3, 2009


So can I move THERE and marry my dog??
posted by educatedslacker at 7:44 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


NPR has a neat map showing the legal situation of gay marriage in each state. It's depressingly full of blue.
posted by aheckler at 7:44 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia also has some good global maps.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2009


Would this amendment violate the US Equal Protection clause just as it violates the Iowa Equal Protection Clause?

That's what the whole enchilada is about, ultimately. But the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to take a same-sex marriage case and rule on this issue.

Do federal courts overrule state constitutions using the federal constitution?

When it comes to rights, the usual metaphor is that the federal courts are a floor, not a ceiling. A state constitution can grant more rights than the federal constitution, but it can't grant fewer rights.
posted by Tin Man at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yay activist courts!

(sarcasm on the activist, serious on the yay)
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2009


It does until the next initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. This is awesome, but likely only temporarily awesome.

Temporary, maybe. But in order to amend the Iowa constitution, the amendment needs to be passed by the Iowa house and senate twice in two sessions. Then it goes to a referendum. This isn't California. And apparently they're not even going to have a vote this session at all.

So the earliest people would even be able to vote on an amendment is probably 2012, at which point people would be less likely to vote for an amendment to ban gay marriage.
posted by delmoi at 7:47 AM on April 3, 2009 [14 favorites]


Go Iowa!
posted by Flunkie at 7:49 AM on April 3, 2009


Well, I guess it's true: There's nothin' halfway about the Iowa way to treat you.
posted by condour75 at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh and I should add that the Iowa house and senate are dem controlled.
posted by delmoi at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009


Doesn't New York recognize same-sex marriages, even though it doesn't issue them? Just come on over to Massachusetts and we'll hook you up!

I'm straight, so it doesn't apply, but it would be nice if my state issued them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


A few days after that, I open up the mail. And there's a pamphlet
in there. From Pueblo, Colorado, and it's addressed to Bill, Jr.
And it's entitled, "Do you know what the queers are doing to our
soil?"

Now, Stuart, if you look at the soil around any large US city,
there's a big undeground homosexual population. Des Moines, Iowa,
for an example. Look at the soil around Des Moines, Stuart.
You can't build on it; you can't grow anything in it. The government
says it's due to poor farming. But I know what's really going on,
Stuart. I know it's the queers. They're in it with the aliens.
They're building landing strips for gay Martians, I swear to
God.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009 [31 favorites]


Article's headline:
Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman.

Within the article:
The court affirmed a Polk County District Court decision that would allow six gay couples to marry.
....
Then, as he saw a stream of grim-faced activists from the Supreme Court passing through security

This article is hilarious.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009


A state constitution can grant more rights than the federal constitution, but it can't grant fewer rights.

Thanks for this.

If a state has a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, what would the mechanism be to have that amendment overturned on the basis of the federal Equal Protection Clause? How likely is that to happen? Would it likely require changes to the US Supreme Court?

If the amendment was found federally unconstitutional, how long might it take for the state in question to recognise the ruling and reverse the amendment? How long might it take for other states to do the same thing, or would they wait for their own individual federal cases before doing so?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 AM on April 3, 2009


Do federal courts overrule state constitutions using the federal constitution?
The Fourteenth Amendment (to the federal Constitution) protects the rights of US citizens from their states.
posted by Flunkie at 7:53 AM on April 3, 2009


Could be overturned as in CA?

Process for amending the Iowa State Constitution: Amendments need to be approved by simple majorities in both the House and Senate in two consecutive general assemblies, then must be approved by a simple majority of voters in the next general election. Each general assembly lasts for two years. Source

From what I understand of Iowa's assembly schedule, the earliest that a proposed amendment could reach voters is November 2012.

Um, what Delmoi said.
posted by CaptApollo at 7:53 AM on April 3, 2009


well, a state constitution can try to grant more rights then the federal constitution, but there are a lot of places where the fed can come in and override whatever rights you supposedly have. Take the CA medical marijuana law, for example.
posted by delmoi at 7:55 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


woohoo
posted by es_de_bah at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2009


Good on ya, Iowa!
posted by chillmost at 7:59 AM on April 3, 2009


If the amendment was found federally unconstitutional, how long might it take for the state in question to recognise the ruling and reverse the amendment?
They wouldn't necessarily reverse it, but the amendment would be inoperative nonetheless.

For example, I'm pretty sure that there are state constitutions that (as written) require a professed belief in a god -- or (not sure) maybe even in the Christian god -- for government officeholders.
posted by Flunkie at 7:59 AM on April 3, 2009


Iiiooooowwwaaahhhaaaa
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nicely done, dear justices!
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2009


Yippee!
posted by alms at 8:03 AM on April 3, 2009


Yeah buckeyes!
posted by lunit at 8:04 AM on April 3, 2009


Would this amendment violate the US Equal Protection clause just as it violates the Iowa Equal Protection Clause?

I cannot get the opinion to load for some reason, and I have no experience with Iowa constitutional law. But from reading the summary, it appears that the caselaw in Iowa may interpret their EP clause is a manner different than the US EP clause. The analysis under the US Supreme Court applying the 14th Amendment would probably be different and useful, in that it would give the Supreme Court an opportunity to explain the fundamental right/strict scrutiny analysis that was muddied in Lawrence.

Do federal courts overrule state constitutions using the federal constitution?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:41 AM on April 3


They can in appropriate circumstances.
posted by dios at 8:05 AM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Come on and cheer cheer cheer for Iowa!
Come on and cheer until you hear the gay people getting married!

Yeah buckeyes!

Psst! Hawkeyes!
posted by dirigibleman at 8:10 AM on April 3, 2009


Yeah buckeyes!

Err... Ohioans are the buckeyes, right?
posted by aheckler at 8:10 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tin Man: "the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to take a same-sex marriage case and rule on this issue."

I'm sure its right-wing majority will be happy to abandon the usual lip service to "state's rights" if it's necessary to keep the queers at the back of the bus.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:10 AM on April 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's nice to see a purple state take this stand.
posted by Plutor at 8:11 AM on April 3, 2009


From the article:
The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.
WHAT?!? That sort of odious, insidious, crap writing is a fine example of the problem.

Good on you, Iowa Supreme Court. Fuck you, Des Moines Register.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [28 favorites]


How can they just redefine marriage? It's in the dictionary!

(kidding--yay, Iowa!)
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:15 AM on April 3, 2009


Seeing this headline this morning has made my whole day. Yeah, yeah, there will be vigorous attempts to overturn it, and no doubt the anti's will find some way to fast-track the overturning process, sure.

But to me, the direction on this issue is clear. Gay marriage is going to be legal; it's just a question of how soon and with what caveats. A few generations from now, and people will look back on "marriage for heteros only!" with embarrassment and puzzlement: "Did people really believe that? For reals?"
posted by Forktine at 8:18 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


here's the ruling
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:19 AM on April 3, 2009


Well now who can we discriminate against?!

I've got it! Cyborgs! They're not real people anyway.

If people are allowed to marry cyborgs, what's next? We'll have people marrying toasters!
posted by backseatpilot at 8:22 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Forktine: " A few generations from now, and people will look back on "marriage for heteros only!" with embarrassment and puzzlement: "Did people really believe that?""

This is one situation where time really is on our side.

And it warms my soul to know that these bigots will someday remembered with the same embarrassed disgust as this.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:24 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Doesn't New York recognize same-sex marriages, even though it doesn't issue them? Just come on over to Massachusetts and we'll hook you up!

I think there's a Massachusetts statute that's supposed to prevent this, unfortunately.
posted by grobstein at 8:24 AM on April 3, 2009


Yay! Great news.

One group of people rarely heard from in the heated discussions of these votes is... people like me: gay and legally married, and facing the possible annulment of our marriage by the passage of Proposition 8 in California. I have a new article in a Buddhist magazine called the Shambhala Sun about what it's like to suddenly find oneself at the flash-point of a raging culture war. I also share my thoughts on the meaning of marriage for everyone, the shortcomings of the No on 8 campaign, and what it was like to wake up on post-election morning, after volunteering full-time for three months to help elect Obama, to find that my husband and I were suddenly facing the obliteration of our marriage license because a Mormon-financed group rounded up a bunch of signatures at Wal-Mart: "Happily Ever After."
posted by digaman at 8:24 AM on April 3, 2009 [18 favorites]


Someday, the notion that two people can't marry because they have the same genitalia will be as ludicrous as the notion that two people can't marry because they have different skin colors.

Well done, Iowa. Slowly but surely, America inches towards the good.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:24 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The good news is that this was a unanimous ruling.

The bad news is that (according to Google Maps) Des Moines is a day trip for Fred Phelps.
posted by oaf at 8:26 AM on April 3, 2009


Damn it feels good to be an Iowan.
posted by bayliss at 8:29 AM on April 3, 2009


If people are allowed to marry cyborgs, what's next? We'll have people marrying toasters!

Or just plooking them.
posted by friendlyjuan at 8:30 AM on April 3, 2009


Fred Phelps is a minor annoyance. He's a teensy gnat. If he's hanging around, you know you're doing something right.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:32 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


thank god.

It's inconceivable how the constitution could ever have been interpreted to NOT give full rights to citizens. The rights are there - no need for new rights. All that was lacking was the recognition by the state and federal governments that the constitution applies to everybody.

I'm so damn glad to see this happening -
posted by Tena at 8:32 AM on April 3, 2009


Also: YAY! I am so pleased and proud.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:33 AM on April 3, 2009


Hurrah for Iowa! First they upset the applecart in the Democratic primaries, now this. Go Mid-West!
posted by Happy Dave at 8:36 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


>>Doesn't New York recognize same-sex marriages, even though it doesn't issue them? Just come on over to Massachusetts and we'll hook you up!

>I think there's a Massachusetts statute that's supposed to prevent this, unfortunately.


Iowa doesn't have a residency requirement to get married here, unlike (most of? all of?) the other states that have legalized gay marriage. So come get married here. Spend some money. Help convince some of the people who aren't completely swayed by the equal rights argument...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:38 AM on April 3, 2009 [12 favorites]


The ruling, by the way, is am amazing read, because it's probably the most coherent and "human-speak" version of one pertaining to this subject ever released. The ruling very plainly and very lucidly breaks down the stupidity of anti-gay arguments one by one. Example:
"Promotion of Optimal Environment to Raise Children:"

The statute, the court found, is under-inclusive because it does not exclude from marriage other groups of parents—such as child abusers, sexual predators, parents neglecting to provide child support, and violent felons—that are undeniably less than optimal parents. If the marriage statute was truly focused on optimal parenting, many classifications of people would be excluded, not merely gay and lesbian people. The statute is also under-inclusive because it does not prohibit same-sex couples from raising children in Iowa. The statute is over-inclusive because not all same-sex couples choose to raise children. The court further noted that the County failed to show how the best interests of children of gay and lesbian parents, who are denied an environment supported by the benefits of marriage under the statute, are served by the ban, or how the ban benefits the interests of children of heterosexual parents. Thus, the court concluded a classification that limits civil marriage to opposite-sex couples is simply not substantially related to the objective of promoting the optimal environment to raise children.
It is amazing, simply amazing, that the highest courts of a state are finally starting to point out in their opinions what college student bloggers have manged to point out in blog posts for the last eight or so years.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [47 favorites]


Or just plooking them.

I'd be content just to frak a toaster.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think there's a Massachusetts statute that's supposed to prevent this, unfortunately.

Not anymore. It was repealed last summer.
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Almost forgot! Go Iowa! Good for you!
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2009


Woo woo!
shows what I know!
posted by grobstein at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2009


Iowa-y to go!
posted by owtytrof at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think there's a Massachusetts statute that's supposed to prevent this, unfortunately.

...

Iowa doesn't have a residency requirement to get married here, unlike (most of? all of?) the other states that have legalized gay marriage. So come get married here.


Except tragically, that's the very purpose of the "Defense of Marriage Act." If specifically says states can't be forced to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:45 AM on April 3, 2009


YAYowa!

Meh, I got nothing. But really: YAY.
posted by sidesh0w at 8:47 AM on April 3, 2009


Except tragically, that's the very purpose of the "Defense of Marriage Act." If specifically says states can't be forced to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

I guess I was speaking to those who live in states that will recognize gay marriages conducted elsewhere...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:49 AM on April 3, 2009


Well now who can we discriminate against?!
I've got it! Cyborgs! They're not real people anyway.


Who are you to take my marriage rights away? Feel free to take on the godless, soulless androids, but leave us traditionalist cyborgs alone! I may have a pacemaker, but I have more in common with the values held by you bio-people than I do with the unnatural lifestyle of fully mechanical objects.

In all seriousness, yay Iowa! I couldn't be happier about the court's decision. Even if the anti-gay marriage activists try to get an amendment there, they're in the position of playing Whack-a-Mole as each new state or municipality legalizes it.
posted by katemonster at 8:51 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yay for Iowa! Way to go!
posted by klangklangston at 8:51 AM on April 3, 2009


Beautiful essay, digaman.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:52 AM on April 3, 2009


(One of the relatively tiny benefits of this is now I can razz my [straight, though notoriously non-committal] cousin about whether he was just waiting for this opportunity. "Gonna go get gay-married, Killian?")
posted by klangklangston at 8:53 AM on April 3, 2009


klangklangston, he might possibly be waiting for the "getting married to cats and dogs" movement that is coming next.
posted by mikeh at 8:56 AM on April 3, 2009


It is amazing, simply amazing, that the highest courts of a state are finally starting to point out in their opinions what college student bloggers have manged to point out in blog posts for the last eight or so years.

This. Here's some more fantastically simple logic from the opinion:

Promoting Stability in Opposite-Sex Relationships.
The County also asserted that the statute promoted stability in opposite-sex relationships. The court acknowledged that, while the institution of civil marriage likely encourages stability in opposite-sex relationships, there was no evidence to support that excluding gay and lesbian people from civil marriage makes opposite-sex marriage more stable.


Conservation of Resources.
Finally, the court rejected the County’s argument that banning same-sex marriages in a constitutional fashion conserves state resources. The argument in support of the same-sex marriage ban is based on a simple premise: civilly married couples enjoy numerous governmental benefits, so the state’s fiscal burden associated with civil marriage is reduced if less people are allowed to marry. While the ban on same-sex marriage may conserve some state resources, so would excluding any number of identifiable groups. However, under intermediate scrutiny the sexual-orientation-based classification must substantially further the conservation-of-resources objective. Here again, the court found it was over- and under-inclusive and did not substantially further the suggested governmental interest.

The fact that they tried to make their argument based on conserving resources is gobsmacking. Hear that? That's the sound of bigots grasping at straws.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:58 AM on April 3, 2009 [20 favorites]


!
posted by DU at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2009


That's the sound of bigots grasping at straws.

Yeah, I have the feeling we're going to see a bit of pounding the table in the next little while.
posted by oaf at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2009


Another positive step towards the inevitable. I also look forward to the day when all fair-minded Americans support gay rights as a matter of course—with no compulsion to add the disclaimer that they're straight.
posted by applemeat at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cheers to my hard-headed, practical neighbor to the south. Go Hawkeyes!
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:01 AM on April 3, 2009


Thanks, Faint of Butt.
posted by digaman at 9:03 AM on April 3, 2009


'Bout fucking time.

I wish Minnesota would get in on the act already. Isn't the land of 10,000 lakes supposed to be more progressive than the plainbillies?
posted by saysthis at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is so awesome! I can't believe it happened in Iowa before California. Amazing.

Here in Washington, gay couples are just a few days away from full rights, which are being added to our existing domestic partnership bill. It's everything but the word "marriage." It's not perfect, but what a big step for our state also.
posted by Craig at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2009


I'm not near a tv...Has FoxNews gone into full-scale "activist courts legislating from the bench" mode yet? That's always good for getting your nutter-rant fix.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2009


"Except tragically, that's the very purpose of the "Defense of Marriage Act." If specifically says states can't be forced to recognize out-of-state gay marriages."

That is unconstitutional and will not stand, ultimately.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause kicks in here and anyone can sue a state that refuses to recognize another state's valid laws.

It happens every day. Take traffic laws -they don't apply consistently but you can sue a state that tickets you for an violation your state does not recognize. In Colorado, that's how unlicensed OHVs = 3 wheelers - snuck into legality; because Arizona recognizes the right to drive them on state highways and county roads and an Arizona citizen sued Hinsdale Co. Colorado for a ticket for driving one on a state highway in Colorado.

Full Faith and Credit - he won the suit.
posted by Tena at 9:09 AM on April 3, 2009


somethingsomethinginsertjokeaboutcornhere YAY IOWA!!!!!!!
posted by spinturtle at 9:10 AM on April 3, 2009


I am in tears here. Iowa is so damned awesome.
posted by jnaps at 9:11 AM on April 3, 2009


From the conclusion:
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. The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification. There is no material fact, genuinely in dispute, that can affect this determination.
Says it all, really.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:13 AM on April 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


The Iowa Motto: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain." You said it, baby! (Actually, I live in Iowa and usually tell non-Iowans, of whom there are surprisingly many, that the motto is "The Nation's Gateway to Nebraska," but the actual motto is way better.)
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


And if the history of the Civil Rights SCOTUS cases is precedent, as it should be, then the Commerce Clause of the constitution also will kick in and arguments can be made that it violates the free flow of commerce between states when states refuse to give Full Faith and Credit to laws of other states...
posted by Tena at 9:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is no material fact, genuinely in dispute, that can affect this determination.

PWNED!!! And other Internet cliches!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:17 AM on April 3, 2009


Thank you for recognizing the equality of your citizens, Iowa.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


you can sue a state that tickets you for an violation your state does not recognize

Cite?
posted by oaf at 9:24 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who's in for a group Herky-Jerk? Eh? Any takers?
posted by thanotopsis at 9:27 AM on April 3, 2009


This is sooooo awesome! My nephew and his same sex spouse were married in a church wedding in New York. They're religiously married -it was a Methodist church. But they aren't married legally - that's what this civil union dogde is about - it's just another way to say "married." They are not any different except for the words. You need the civil sanction of the state to be married legally - end of story. If you don't have a license, your church wedding is meaningless except to your church.

That's all you need - a religious wedding is not required but that's what most Religious Right nutjobs have been up in arms about. It's also why "civil union" isn't as insulting as people think it is.

I did enough Domestic Relations work that it's very clear to me whereas laymen cannot seem to see it. I know it sounds discriminatory but it really isn't. All civil union says is: "Yes, you can get a legal marriage license and get legally married, but we're calling it something else to keep the wackos from going nuts."
posted by Tena at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2009


"you can sue a state that tickets you for an violation your state does not recognize

Cite?"

I told you what I was basing it on - I don't have a cite to the Colorado case cause I was in Hinsdale Co. at the time and that's how I know about it.

But ok - I'll go get on Lexus Nexus and find you some fucking cases. Jesus.
posted by Tena at 9:32 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


So the earliest people would even be able to vote on an amendment is probably 2012, at which point people would be less likely to vote for an amendment to ban gay marriage.

A statewide referendum on gay marriage in a presidential election year? I'd hate to be a Democrat in Iowa in 2012.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2009


Yay!
posted by Neofelis at 9:35 AM on April 3, 2009


You guys are giving Iowa credit for something it had little to do with.

I mean, I guess, GO IOWA for passing such a horribly worded anti-gay law in the first place. So poorly worded that their Supreme Court, most likely ideologically divided, had no choice but to overturn it.
posted by graventy at 9:36 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


While I'm doing legal research, which I had hoped I could avoid once I retired, I found this legal definition of Full Faith and Credit -

"
full faith and credit
n. the provision in Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state." Thus, a judgment in a lawsuit or a criminal conviction rendered in one state shall be recognized and enforced in any other state, so long as the original judgment was reached by due process of law. Each state has a process for obtaining an enforceable judgment based on a "foreign" (out-of-state) judgment."
posted by Tena at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2009


This is all I'm doing - you can take it from here. Go to law school if you aren't happy with my answer:

"

The first case to take note of in the Supreme Court of the US was the case of Clappers Widow, as it is now known (1920's). Mr. Clapper lived and worked in Vermont and was killed (negligently) in an accident in New Hampshire. New Hampshire claimed that they did not have to pay any workers compensation to Mrs. Clapper and that the state of Vermont (where the contract was created) had full responsibility. The court said it was irrelevant as to where the contract was created, that the state of New Hampshire had to honor the state-rights under the Full Faith and Credit Act.

Consequently, after this, there was a significant surge of cases that argued that the full enforcement of Full Faith and Credit should be routinely recognized.

As if that wasn't confusing enough, along came automobiles, insurance, estate planning and other individuals' rights for compensation, putting new slants on the cases.

In Caroll v Lanza (1955) the court said that the place of injury could apply its own law instead of the state of injury changing the case of Clapper's Widow.

In The Court in Nevada v Hall (1979) an employee of the University of Nevada driving a state automobile, on official state business, severely injured a California resident, on a California highway. The Nevada Court argued that accordingly the Nevada sovereignty clause protected Nevada from the California Court, as Nevada was capped at an award of $25,000 for damages and that the Full Faith and Credit Clause should honor this cap. However, the Supreme Court of the US rejected the Nevada contention and their policy and held the award of the California Court at $1,150,000 for the plaintiff.

We think it is fair to say that Full Faith and Credit could have an affect on anyone's case in so many fields of law, estate planning, family law, employment law, insurance law; you name it! "
posted by Tena at 9:42 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
posted by sexyrobot at 9:42 AM on April 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


I know it sounds discriminatory but it really isn't.

What the wording of the federal DOMA legislation shows, unfortunately, is that we do need to recognize the Right to Marriage of all Americans, and that a "civil union" offers, in all reality, no legal protections from the bigotry of some. In the end, changing the language to a condition of "separate, but equal" has always been discriminatory.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not near a tv...Has FoxNews gone into full-scale "activist courts legislating from the bench" mode yet? That's always good for getting your nutter-rant fix.

No, but wingnut Congressman Steve King has already issued this statement:

"This is an unconstitutional ruling and another example of activist judges molding the Constitution to achieve their personal political ends. Iowa law says that marriage is between one man and one woman. If judges believe the Iowa legislature should grant same sex marriage, they should resign from their positions and run for office, not legislate from the bench. Now it is the Iowa legislature’s responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa. Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering."
posted by blucevalo at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2009


I'm going to hug an Iowan this weekend.

(And I'm not just saying that because I know a really cute Iowan.)
posted by MrVisible at 9:47 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


In The Court in Nevada v Hall (1979) an employee of the University of Nevada driving a state automobile, on official state business, severely injured a California resident, on a California highway. The Nevada Court argued that accordingly the Nevada sovereignty clause protected Nevada from the California Court, as Nevada was capped at an award of $25,000 for damages and that the Full Faith and Credit Clause should honor this cap. However, the Supreme Court of the US rejected the Nevada contention and their policy and held the award of the California Court at $1,150,000 for the plaintiff.

So this implies that California law applies in California. That doesn't imply that Arizona law applies in Colorado.
posted by oaf at 9:48 AM on April 3, 2009


Iowa law says that marriage is between one man and one woman.

No, Iowa law says what the Supreme Court of Iowa fucking says it does. There is no higher authority on Iowa law.
posted by oaf at 9:50 AM on April 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca
Alternatively, perhaps Congressman King could promote the legalization of gay marriage in other states. This would also prevent Iowa from becoming the gay marriage Mecca, thus fulfilling his apparent goal.
posted by Flunkie at 9:50 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here I always thought that Mecca would not allow gay marriage.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:51 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


yay!
posted by milestogo at 9:54 AM on April 3, 2009


I'm going to jump in with Blazecock Pileon on this one. Either everyone gets legal marriage, regardless of sexuality, or everyone gets a civil union(meaning all current "legal marriages" would be converted to "civil unions"), and marriage can be left to religious contexts.

I remember a few years back, the first time I heard a mention of possible "civil unions" for homosexual couples. My immediate thought was that separate but equal never worked before, what makes anyone think it's going to work now? We all deserve equal unified rights and protections under the law. To offer a reason of "Oh, it's really the same thing, we're just calling it something else so that such-and-such group doesn't freak out" is weak, cowardly, and, purposfully or not, setting the "dummy" term up to have its definition changed later on without affecting the original term.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, when it comes down to it, "separate but equal" is always the former, but probably very rarely the latter.
posted by owtytrof at 9:57 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


This, while a great thing for the Iowa S.C. to realize, will not go over well in most of Iowa.

As a former Iowan, I would characterize Iowans as more generally averse to change than active ideologues. It's a subtle, but relevant distinction, because now that gay marriage is legal, making it illegal would be a change. So I believe you're over-estimating the likely backlash against this.
posted by scottreynen at 10:01 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thus, a judgment in a lawsuit or a criminal conviction rendered in one state shall be recognized and enforced in any other state, so long as the original judgment was reached by due process of law.
You seem to be trying to use this to back your apparent claim that one state can overturn the judgment of a second state.

To put it another way: You seem to be trying to use this to back your apparent claim that its exact opposite is true.

That is, you're trying to use "Arizona must recognize Colorado's judgments" to back your claim that Arizona can override Colorado's judgments.

I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I'm misinterpreting you. But, well, that's sure the way your statements seem to me.
posted by Flunkie at 10:01 AM on April 3, 2009


Totally thrilling. Spent 7 great years there.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:04 AM on April 3, 2009


Either everyone gets legal marriage, regardless of sexuality, or everyone gets a civil union(meaning all current "legal marriages" would be converted to "civil unions"), and marriage can be left to religious contexts.

That's not really what I was saying, but no matter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on April 3, 2009


A black guy is president, home prices are nearing affordability, and Iowa is taking the lead in civil rights. Living in the Bizzaro World version of 4 years ago is unexpectedly awesome.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:09 AM on April 3, 2009 [28 favorites]


From FreeRepublic:

"This is scary. Unlike Massachusetts, Iowa is an agricultural breadbasket. Watch crop yields plumett now. God takes His revenge in many ways. Just ask those people burned out of their homes (or had their crops dry up from drought) in California. Russia’s crop yields plummeted too, once she became an atheistic nation in 1922."

"Regarding the Soviet Unions agricultural failures after it became an atheistic state, I don't think I need to post a chart. That's common knowledge. Before 1922 the (then) Russian Empire was exporting food. After 1922, when the atheists took over and attacked religion, ag yields plunged. I remember back in the 1970s the US selling the USSR huge amounts of grain."


I know this is a tad off topic (not really though, since from now on any mildly bad thing that happens in Iowa will be blamed on God's Wrath by millions of Americans) ... but does anyone here suppose that Russian crop failures in the 20's had anything to do with, I dunno, the aftermath of a bloody civil war and a failed collectivization program? Possibly?

No, it was obviously because the bolshies were atheists.
posted by Avenger at 10:09 AM on April 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


There is no material fact, genuinely in dispute, that can affect this determination.

PWNED!!! And other Internet cliches!


Sorry, but this is not a smackdown line per se. The case was obviously decided on a summary judgement motion. That means that the court has all the facts before it that are material to the claim advanced and that there is no need for a trial to find facts. Every case decided on this type of motion gets that language as it tracks the language for the summary judgment standard. So it isn't reall pwnage, sorry.

But we won!
posted by Ironmouth at 10:14 AM on April 3, 2009


"A statewide referendum on gay marriage in a presidential election year? I'd hate to be a Democrat in Iowa in 2012."

Unlikely to be a Democrat presidential primary contest as long as Obama's around, so it'll just be Republican candidates in Iowa. Who will further alienate moderate people, many who know and respect, or are related to gays, by competing to pander the most to the haters.

Look, in 20 years, gay marriage will be as accepted as interracial marriage was in 1980. And any Republican still in office will be backing and filling just like the Republican office holders in the '80s who'd voted against the Voting Rights Act in '65. It'll be a beautiful thing.
posted by orthogonality at 10:18 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The good news is that this was a unanimous ruling.

The bad news is that (according to Google Maps) Des Moines is a day trip for Fred Phelps.


Huh? Fred Phelps is advancing the cause of gay rights everywhere. Every time that idiot attempts to show up at a service member's funeral with those signs it broadcasts to the world: These are the people who are against gay rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 AM on April 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


That's not really what I was saying, but no matter.

Sorry, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I read from your comment that the legal stsatus should be the same for all, because "separate but equal" is discriminatory. Of course I added my own opinion that I don't care what it's called as long as it's the same for all parties.

Did I miss your point entirely?
posted by owtytrof at 10:22 AM on April 3, 2009


To offer a reason of "Oh, it's really the same thing, we're just calling it something else so that such-and-such group doesn't freak out" is weak, cowardly, and, purposfully or not, setting the "dummy" term up to have its definition changed later on without affecting the original term.

Or, to paraphrase... "The water in those two water fountains comes out of the same public water supply. We've just labeled one of them Colored Only so the white supremacists don't freak out."
posted by hippybear at 10:23 AM on April 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


And any Republican still in office will be backing and filling just like the Republican office holders in the '80s who'd voted against the Voting Rights Act in '65. It'll be a beautiful thing.

Except that there are Republicans in office who think that the Voting Rights Act was overreach and that it should be dismantled or rolled back, and they aren't dismissed by the party as fringe. Same story with same-sex marriage, but on a larger scale.

So long as there are those types in the party, and so long as they are not considered pariahs and have pulpits to declaim from -- not such a beautiful thing.
posted by blucevalo at 10:25 AM on April 3, 2009


The bad news is that (according to Google Maps) Des Moines is a day trip for Fred Phelps.

I'm still half-convinced that Phelps and the Westboro Loony Bunch are nothing but an elaborate false flag operation from GLAAD or Lambda Legal or someone like that. They're too fucking whacked out to be real.
posted by dersins at 10:28 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I'm misinterpreting you. But, well, that's sure the way your statements seem to me.

"If I was a lawyer, then I could really misinterpret you!"
posted by grobstein at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2009


Dear Other States,

Iowa is socially ahead of most of us. Iowa. For however great we may think we are, we are currently getting our asses kicked by Iowa.

This should probably be telling us something.

Good for Iowa. You may be one big, flat boring motherfucker to drive through, but your civil rights are certainly worth looking at.
posted by quin at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


hippybear: Well, that and this whole thing has never been just about "the definition of marriage." The ball got started about 20 years ago when same-sex couples started making some small gains, such as domestic partnership benefits from a handful of friendly employers, and adoption and custody decisions in a few jurisdictions. It was at this point that the marriage brigade started stacking the statehouses and passing legislation asserting the inferiority of same-sex unions, in jurisdictions where domestic partnerships, much less marriage were not on the table.

Even this year, cultural conservatives threatened action against Obama if he signed an executive order that would comply (after several years of non-compliance) with a Federal Court order to give domestic partnership benefits to federal government employees.

Anyone who says that this is just about preserving the traditional meaning of a word and not about legal rights for same-sex partners is (granting more benefit of the doubt that it deserves) woefully ignorant about the grounds and history of the debate, or a bald-faced liar.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:35 AM on April 3, 2009


From NPR's nifty map:
* includes states with domestic-partmenrship laws equal in rights to civil unions

I agree with owtytrof - "separate but equal" is always the former, but probably very rarely the latter.

By simple separateness, "otherness" is further entrenched. "They're like us, but not. They get the same rights, but have different paperwork, see? It's on pink paper, so we don't get it confused with married couple stuff, which is on blue. But it's cool, 'cause they get to do the same things we do, but just not the same way."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on April 3, 2009


Good on ya Iowa supreme court. Iowans who are pleased with this, don't forget to campaign for it when it comes up for a vote.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:38 AM on April 3, 2009


hippybear, I am immediately stealing that and proliferating it widely, thanks!
posted by digaman at 10:45 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


In case you missed it earlier in the week, piratebowling shared a great new community blog.

I'm From Driftwood: short stories told by gays from all over (but not Iowa, yet!), paired with Google Earth images of the storyteller's hometown.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:49 AM on April 3, 2009


Did I miss your point entirely?

My point is: When we dealt with this back in in Loving v. Virginia, we didn't invent a new term for Marriage for interracial couples, and we didn't set up a race-based equivalent of DOMA just to invalidate rights for Americans of different ethnicities, who wanted to get married.

We acted like grown-ups and acknowledged that the inalienable rights of other adults cannot be denied on the basis of discriminatory premises.

There are no good reasons to allow the kind of precedent you are describing, something that would force inferiority on all citizens — even if you are optimistic that said relationship would be recognized as equal for all, we still have DOMA and the legal problems that this has caused — just because of the oppressive bigotry of a slight majority.

"Civil unions" are "separate, but equal" from the start, which makes them anathema to the notion of equal protection. Further, we have another notion of separation embodied into our country's laws: No church or churches are allowed to regulate state affairs; therefore, granting religious fundamentalists full ownership over Marriage is another obvious violation of Constitutional principle.

To that point, if religious people are so bothered, they can use the term "religious unions" to discriminate their business from the civil affairs of Marriage, leaving the rest of us adults alone to enjoy our equal rights as Americans.

Even with all that, it's no matter. I'm just happy that the Iowa Supreme Court understands what being an American means, and what the role of the state is in protecting freedoms for all of us. It's a good day for Iowans, and it's a slightly better day for everyone in the country.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on April 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


I also look forward to the day when all fair-minded Americans support gay rights as a matter of course—with no compulsion to add the disclaimer that they're straight.

applemeat, I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this, but I actively support marriage equality here in MA and elsewhere, and I always point out that I'm straight because I think that it is important that the opposition knows that there are those who support marriage equality who are not gay. I also think it's a good way to have the conversation turn to why I support it, since "it doesn't affect me". This presents the opportunity to note that, in addition to all of the other reasons I support marriage equality, denying civil rights for any minority population means that any minority position that anyone has is then put in danger.

Or, like Walter Sobchek says, "This affects all of us man!"

(oh yeah, YAY IOWA!)
posted by rollbiz at 10:52 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or, to paraphrase... "The water in those two water fountains comes out of the same public water supply. We've just labeled one of them Colored Only so the white supremacists don't freak out."
I would agree with that in the case that it's "the government recognizes marriages for some people, and civil unions for others".

But that's not what the person who you responded to said. What they said was more along the lines of "the government recognizes marriages for everybody, or else the government recognizes marriages for no one and civil unions for everybody".

To put it in terms of your analogy, I think that's more along the lines of "The government will now call the liquid coming from those two fountains 'refreshing beverage', and anyone can drink from either of them, and if some wackjob wants to say that any refreshing beverage coming from any refreshing beverage fountain that a black person has drank from is or is not 'water', hey, fine, call it whatever the hell you want, nutball."
posted by Flunkie at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd like for Ohio and Iowa to merge. Ohiowa. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Like a made-up tribe, or perhaps a crossover sport-utility vehicle or something.

Yeah, I know that there are a few states in between.
posted by box at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Poll: Majority of Iowans support recognition of same-sex relationships. "The poll was taken just before a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling Friday finding that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples. . . . Nearly 60 percent of Iowans under age 30 support gay marriage, and three-fourths of Iowans under 30 favor some formal recognition of gay relationships, the poll found."

If this comes up on a ballot three years from now it looks like it could stand.
posted by stopgap at 10:57 AM on April 3, 2009


"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind then that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

-Eugene Debs
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2009 [15 favorites]


I think I'm going to put on The Music Man's cast recording and sing along every time they say "You really ought to give Iowa a try." Seems appropriate. :)
posted by ilana at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2009


Congratulations to all the same-sex couples in my state who now have the legal right to marry. What a fantastic day to be an Iowan.
posted by epj at 11:04 AM on April 3, 2009


This is a fantastic victory for human rights. And it's more than a little shameful being a Californian today, seeing that Iowa is now more progressive on this issue. (Nothing against Iowa, but a year ago, it would have been hard to imagine this.)
posted by malocchio at 11:05 AM on April 3, 2009


I'd like for Ohio and Iowa to merge. Ohiowa. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Where I come from we pronounce it "Ohiowadaho."
posted by Floydd at 11:09 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


posted by stopgap If this comes up on a ballot three years from now it looks like it could stand.

Civil rights aren't decided by voters.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I knew RedState wouldn't let me down...

Until we make a regular habit in this nation of impeaching activist judges who put their personal policy preferences ahead of the constitutions of the several states and nation, we will just keep bowing lower and lower to our black robed masters.

Where does it come from - this right-wing persecution complex and inchoate terror of The Darkie?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action, and Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law, released the following statement today in response to news that the Iowa Supreme Court has issued an opinion imagining a "fundamental" constitutional right to "same-sex marriage":

"Here we go again," said Barber. "While citing the specter of 'equal protection,' the Iowa Supreme Court today has unanimously joined a leftist gaggle of ideologically driven judges in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut, creating, from thin air, a phantom 'right' to the ridiculous, oxymoronic and postmodern 'gay' marriage counterfeit... It is no more discriminatory to disallow two men from marrying each other, than it is to prohibit a man from marrying his house plant...

"The Iowa Supreme Court has earned its rightful place in the judicial activism hall of shame. It has infected the wholesome heartland with the same malady eating away at natural marriage, family and morality at our nation's coastal and ideological fringes.

"If you think you saw a fight in California to restore natural marriage with the successful passage of Proposition 8, then hold on to your hats. Something tells me the fine folks of Iowa don't cotton to seven black robed autocrats supplanting mid-western values with San Francisco vice."
posted by digaman at 11:15 AM on April 3, 2009


posted by mattdidthat Civil rights aren't decided by voters.

But state constitutional amendments are, even when they limit civil rights. See, e.g., California Proposition 8.
posted by stopgap at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2009


Civil rights aren't decided by voters.

Tell that to the gay citizens of CA.
posted by rollbiz at 11:21 AM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think there's a Massachusetts statute that's supposed to prevent this, unfortunately.

Not anymore. It was repealed last summer.


Yep.

Massachusetts Repeals 1913 Law Banning Out-of-State Marriages
"Several hours ago, the Massachusetts House voted 118-35 to strike down a 1913 law banning marriages by out-of-state couples. The Senate has already voted to repeal the law, and the governor has promised to sign it when it reaches his desk (which will probably happen tomorrow).

What this means is that soon, every same-sex couple in the country will be legally able to marry in Massachusetts without establishing residency."
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on April 3, 2009


Flunkie: The basic problem with the proposed California compromise is that there is such a massive weight of case law using the term "marriage" on the books that at some point, you have to say that the "civil unions" of today are legally the same thing as "marriage" as discussed in such and such a precedent-setting case from the 1950s, and likewise that "domestic partner" is legally the same thing as "spouse," "husband," and "wife."

The endgame on this has nothing to do with words, and everything to do with the several dozens of little ways in which those concepts matter: divorce, custody, adoption, power of attorney, and privilege.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2009


Once again, California sets a benchmark as the most progressive state in the nation!


Wait--what?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


W00T CIVIL RIGHTS!!!! One step closer to the tipping point...
posted by scody at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2009


Next up -- Vermont?

Last night:

Vermont House Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill 95-52
"The Burlington Free Press reports:
'After nearly four hours of passionate debate from supporters and opponents of the measure, the House approved the bill by a vote of 95-52 shortly after 9 p.m. The legislation, S.115, gives same-sex couples the right to marry in Vermont. The bill will be brought up again Friday for final approval, then return to the Senate, where changes to language must be approved. Should the Senate OK those changes, the bill will head to Douglas’ desk and a promised veto. That veto — which Douglas declared last week he would deliver — would not kill the legislation. Instead members of the House and Senate will try to override the veto by securing a two-thirds majority of support in each chamber. The Senate would need 20 votes; the House would need 100 with all members in attendance.'
There is no doubt members will switch their votes if Douglas proceeds with his veto. The big question is how many Democrats who voted against the measure will switch to vote with their party to override and how many Republicans who may have voted to pass the measure will switch to not override their governor."

posted by ericb at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


John Irving Supports Marriage Equality in Letter to Edmund White
"Via Rex Wockner comes this letter heterosexual author and Vermont resident John Irving sent to his friend, the gay author Edmund White. White told Wockner that Irving wanted it to be made public...
Dear Edmund:

It's interesting that, as you and I are comparing our calendars to see when we might get together in Vermont -- and while we are both engaged in overseeing the editing and copy-editing phase of our new books -- my fellow Vermonters are deciding the fate of a gay marriage bill, which I very much support, and which has been supported by the Vermont State Senate (by a wide margin).

Some years ago, I was an outspoken opponent of my fellow Democrat, Sen. Peter Shumlin -- then and now, the President of the Vermont Senate -- on an issue having nothing to do with gay marriage. (It was a tax issue, and a school issue, called Act 60, and the disagreement between Sen. Shumlin and myself was very public. It was unfortunate, too, because we were friends -- formerly neighbors in Putney --and the issue was very divisive.) Not so now, when Sen. Shumlin and I are allies on the gay marriage issue; Peter Shumlin's statements in support of gay marriage have been clear, fair, and admirable -- and I've told him so. Gay rights have long been the 'new' -- as we both know, truly not so new -- civil rights. It is heartening to see that the Vermont Senate thinks so." [continued...]
posted by ericb at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2009


posted by stopgap But state constitutional amendments are, even when they limit civil rights. See, e.g., California Proposition 8.

posted by rollbiz Tell that to the gay citizens of CA.

Hi. I live in California, and I'm well aware of the idiotic and unconstitutional amendments voters often add to the California state constitution. However, these amendments will ultimately be overturned, because they're unconstitutional, since civil rights--or more accurately, the lack thereof--are not decided by voters. See also: Loving v. Virginia, and Brown v. Board of Education.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:34 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for expounding, Blazecock. I think we're roughly on the same page, just coming from different directions.

When I say that if one group gets civil unions, the all groups get them, and marriage is left to religion, I don't mean to imply that everyone should be put in a position of inferiority. The religious marriage would be between the couple and their deity or church, whereas the civil union would be between the couple and our government. The two would be essentially unrelated, although both could be enacted in the same ceremony, as is the prominent custom in our country. Obviously, reclassifying all existing marriages under the government as civil unions would be a monstrous impractical headache that is, frankly, not going to happen. I admit it sounds naive to even suggest it, and that my comment was not clear that the only real option is for homosexual couples to have the right to a legal marriage, exactly the same as a heterosexual couple. I agree with you 100% that the way to approach this is to be adults, and not make up new terms with the accompanying hand-waving and "see, it's the same only different" bullshit.

So big ups to Iowa, little ups to all of us, and here's hoping that things continue to improve and that there's no backsliding.
posted by owtytrof at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: I do see your point, and extending the metaphor thus might draw it more clearly... but for that my point when writing it was not to draw a perfect metaphor between drinking fountains and same-sex marriage / civil union law. It was, rather, to illustrate the same ridiculous line of reasoning as it might be applied to former illustrations of "separate but equal" in the history of our country.

I think, perhaps, I was offering my paraphrase up as a parallel to the poster's point of the ludicrous nature of such reasoning, rather than refuting anything. More of a "response" in the "call and response" mode.
posted by hippybear at 11:41 AM on April 3, 2009


I'd like for Ohio and Iowa to merge.


For a great many years I confused Iowa, Ohio, Omaha and Idaho. I thought they were all the same place.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:42 AM on April 3, 2009



I'm not near a tv...Has FoxNews gone into full-scale "activist courts legislating from the bench" mode yet? That's always good for getting your nutter-rant fix.


Nah. I was at the gym from 11:45 to 1:30 and the only thing FOX (and the other news channels) were running was the story about the guy shooting people and holding hostages in an immigration center in upstate NY.

But back to the Iowa story.
Yeah!!!!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:44 AM on April 3, 2009


Flunkie: The basic problem with the proposed California compromise is that (...)
That may be so, and I'm not saying that there are no potential issues with this recent Californian plan. All I'm saying is that "it's like colored-only water fountains" is not one of them.
posted by Flunkie at 11:47 AM on April 3, 2009


"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:48 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Openly Gay Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy: Why Iowa Won't Go Backwards on Marriage Rights.
"Unlike the fight in California, I believe this issue is settled...I believe Iowa will not go backwards when it comes to civil rights."
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2009


A good summary of the Iowa decision (at Law Dork).
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also appreciate the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion that the religious argument for/against same-sex marriage should be left out of the courts and avoided by government. It's a clear separation of church and state.

A religion is free to define marriage for its worshipers, and that's all fine and dandy. Just don't make it a law.
posted by CancerMan at 12:09 PM on April 3, 2009


Woo-hoo! High Fructose Corn Syrup all around!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:19 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


"If you think you saw a fight in California to restore natural marriage with the successful passage of Proposition 8, then hold on to your hats. Something tells me the fine folks of Iowa don't cotton to seven black robed autocrats supplanting mid-western values with San Francisco vice."

Man what is it with conservatives and their notion that homosexuality is a secret vice, constantly tempting otherwise-upstanding heterosexual citizens with the allure of covert anonymous airport bathroom hookups, trawling for male prostitutes, indulging in hard, hot, sticky gay sex?

Oh wait I think I get it.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2009


there was that so hard
posted by ChickenringNYC at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


This may be a bit of a tangent, but regarding this:

My immediate thought was that separate but equal never worked before, what makes anyone think it's going to work now? We all deserve equal unified rights and protections under the law.

An interesting case is what happened in France when civil unions (called PACS) were instituted as a way to allow gay couples to "marry" without riling up the social conservatives too much. Not only different in name, but also in some of the legal implications--when originally passed, PACS couples didn't file taxes jointly like married couples, and the methods for dissolving a partnership are much less onerous than divorce--PACs quickly (and unexpectedly) became more popular than expected among straight couples. As of last year, 92 percent of couples entering into civil unions were straight. About 1/3rd of all legal partnerships in France are through PACS rather than marriage.

I'm not arguing that civil unions instead of marriage for gays is the way to go in the U.S., but I do think it's worth noting that traditional marriage has become much less popular for straight couples over the past two decades, and it's far from clear to me that civil unions are by their very nature an inferior option. A different option, yes, but not necessarily inferior for every person. I strongly support legalizing gay marriage, but that doesn't mean I don't think civil unions as a separate option (for both gays and straights) would be a good thing.
posted by iminurmefi at 12:35 PM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


For a great many years I confused Iowa, Ohio, Omaha and Idaho. I thought they were all the same place.

I grew up in Iowa, and I used to take comments like this as examples of coastal snobbery, but after moving to Baltimore, I had to deal with several Iowa relatives asking me how I liked living in Boston. So I tend to take a more tolerant line toward geographic knowledge these days. :)

But back on point, I think it's very much worth noting the very first ruling that the Iowa Supreme Court made in 1839, when the state was still just a territory:
In Re the Matter of Ralph, decided July, 1839. In 1834, a Missouri resident named Montgomery entered into a written agreement with his slave Ralph. The agreement allowed Ralph to reside in the Iowa territory to earn money to purchase his freedom for $550 plus interest. Ralph went to Dubuque where he found a job working in the lead mines. Ralph failed to pay this amount and after five years had passed Montgomery sent bounty hunters to abduct Ralph and return him to Missouri. Ralph was brought before the district court by a writ of habeas corpus, and the proceedings were transferred to the Iowa Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

The Iowa Supreme Court found that Ralph should pay his debt, but held that "no man in this territory can be reduced to slavery." The court rejected the argument that Ralph was a fugitive slave, reasoning that by allowing him to leave Missouri and reside in a free state, Montgomery could no longer exercise any right over him in the Iowa territory. The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar question 18 years later when it decided the infamous Dred Scott (1857) case. However, unlike the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in Ralph, the U.S. Supreme Court decision maintained the rights of the slave holder and ordered the slave returned.
Moral of the story: The Iowa Supreme Court has a long history of coming down on the right side of history.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 12:45 PM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fred Phelps is a Con Man - this page presents another possibility for Phelps. Instead of working out of hatred, or getting people to vent their inner demons at them, that church is strictly mercenary. They want people to attack them or deny their right to protest, so they can sue.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:51 PM on April 3, 2009


that doesn't mean I don't think civil unions as a separate option (for both gays and straights) would be a good thing.

Thanks for the information; I had never heard of PACS.

I agree with you that civil unions, as an option for everyone, are not inherently inferior to marriages. To be honest, I have only ever heard of civil unions in the context of "pseudo-marriage for gays, with its own legal definition". If both legal marriage and civil union were options made available to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, then that's something I could get behind. My problem lies with the idea that straight couples get one thing, and gay couples get another, but no, really, they're the same thing in all but name! Options, generally, are a good thing, so long as they're available to all comers.
posted by owtytrof at 1:01 PM on April 3, 2009


If ever there were a reason to sing that Dar Williams song, this is it.
posted by aniola at 1:03 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


They want people to attack them or deny their right to protest, so they can sue.

Turnabout is fair play. In 2007 Phelps lost a $11 million lawsuit filed by the father of one of the soldiers whose funeral he and his clan disrupted.
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2009


Moral of the story: The Iowa Supreme Court has a long history of coming down on the right side of history.

saw this on Fark:
In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.
In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided the issue.
In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated "separate but equal" schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.
In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law.
In 1873, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in public accommodations, 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.
So, yeah.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2009 [21 favorites]


I overslept today, since I don't have class or work on Friday and haven't been sleeping well lately, and this is pretty fucking great thing to wake up to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:46 PM on April 3, 2009


I'm really happy about this. The list that ArgentCorvid just posted comes from, I think, a statement by the Democratic Senate Majority Leader and the Democratic House Speaker, which seems like a really good sign that the Dems there won't back down and refuse to actually fight for justice (like they so often do).

I just hope we don't have to wait 85-91 years for the rest of the country to get equal marriage rights.
posted by overglow at 1:47 PM on April 3, 2009


"The Iowa Supreme Court has ... infected the wholesome heartland with the same malady eating away at natural marriage, family and morality at our nation's coastal and ideological fringes." - some guy from Liberty U...

I can't help but hear this quote spoken in the voice of General Ripper, and like to imagine it was followed by a sincere plea to restore the purity and essence of our natural bodily fluids.

Also, way to go, Iowa!
posted by bepe at 2:08 PM on April 3, 2009


Woo-hoo! High Fructose Corn Syrup all around!

Ethanol for everyone!

Joint statement from the Iowa legislative leadership on today's same-gender marriage decision
Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing civil rights

This is a joint statement from Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy on today's Supreme Court decision:

"Thanks to today's decision, Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing all of our citizens' equal rights.

"The court has ruled today that when two Iowans promise to share their lives together, state law will respect that commitment, regardless of whether the couple is gay or straight.

"When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today's events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency...
So, it seems very unlikely that we'll ever have a referendum or anything like that, unless republicans take over the statehouse, and even then it will take at least two or three years since you need two votes.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on April 3, 2009


Ahem.

". . . Nearly 60 percent of Iowans under age 30 support gay marriage, and three-fourths of Iowans under 30 favor some formal recognition of gay relationships, the poll found."

If this comes up on a ballot three years from now it looks like it could stand.


That 60 percent probably gets a hell of a lot smaller the more you include older voters, and older people vote more.
posted by graventy at 2:21 PM on April 3, 2009


No, but wingnut Congressman Steve King has already issued this statement: ...Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.

A sample of Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) long record of bigotry:
– King compared gay people to unicorns and leprechauns. “Unicorns, leprechauns, gay marriages in Iowa — these are all things you will never find because they just don’t exist.”

– King said Abu Ghraib abuse was just “hazing.” King said in a statement, referring to the abuse, “What amounts to hazing is not even in the same ballpark as mass murder.”

– King sought to uphold anti-gay employment discrimination. “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would force employers to hire homosexual employees.”

– King refused to say ‘Happy Ramadan.’ In 2007, King refused to vote for a harmless resolution recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

– King insisted homosexuality was just a “behavior.” Declaring that “homosexual marriage is not a civil right,” King said sexual orientation “is a self-identified behavior, not an immutable characteristic.”
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


My suspicions have been confirmed. Iowa is full of friendly, level-headed people.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:26 PM on April 3, 2009


Iowa! The Quaker half of my family is Iowan and they're happy too.
posted by MNDZ at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2009


For what it's worth, Steve King is in the part of Iowa that we'd readily give away to South Dakota. My middle school civics teacher got into a yelling match with him at the state fair a few years ago -- I'm still proud.
posted by mikeh at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


...But so is the Mexican side, and they're less happy.
posted by MNDZ at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2009


That 60 percent probably gets a hell of a lot smaller the more you include older voters, and older people vote more.

Yeah, but Iowa's process for getting their constitution amended sounds as cumbersome as Massachusetts', and although gay marriage opponents in MA vowed to get it overturned, by the time they had gathered all the necessary signatures etc., MA residents had had a couple of years to see that legal gay marriage in their state had...no effect on them. Except maybe they got more wedding invites, or something.

Once people have experience two years' worth of the sky not falling, fire and brimstone not engulfing the state, and so on, they will be less interested in spending the time and money required to change their constitution because there will be other, actual crises to pay attention to.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on April 3, 2009


Once people have experience two years' worth of the sky not falling, fire and brimstone not engulfing the state, and so on, they will be less interested in spending the time and money required to change their constitution because there will be other, actual crises to pay attention to.

Exactly.

The Sky Didn't Fall in Massachusetts
"On May 17, 2004, when Massachusetts began marrying its gay couples, that simple declaration — emblazoned on golden stickers shaped like deputy sheriff's badges and proudly worn by ecstatic gay-rights supporters — celebrated a seismic shift. State-approved gay marriage was no longer a theoretical possibility. It was a reality.

Now, a year and more than 6,100 gay weddings later, the reviews are in. Folks in Massachusetts, the first in the nation to experience this expansion of freedom, have swung 180 degrees to favoring it.

Bay State voters now overwhelmingly support gay marriage, 56% to 37%, according to a Boston Globe poll in March. That's a breathtaking turnabout from February 2004. Back then, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gays had to be allowed to marry but before the marriages began, voters opposed the change, 53% to 35%.

...While the outside world debates how to treat its gay couples, Massachusetts sees that fire-and-brimstone predictions didn't come true.

Religious institutions haven't been forced to bless the civil marriage of any gay couple, though many have done so voluntarily. Nor did supporting the court's order to extend all the state-conferred rights and responsibilities of marriage trigger a ballot-box backlash against gay-friendly lawmakers.

Having lived with gay marriage, Massachusetts seems a bit smitten with it. By 65% to 34%, voters say it hasn't weakened the institution of marriage. Only 13% say gay marriage has had a negative effect on married heterosexuals. And 71% expect the state to 'become more and more accepting of same-sex marriage,' Decision Research found in surveying 600 registered voters for MassEquality, a pro-gay marriage group."
posted by ericb at 3:01 PM on April 3, 2009


The statement from the (Democratic) governor leaves a bit to be desired:

"The decision released this morning by Supreme Court addresses a complicated and emotional issue, one on which Iowans have strong views and opinions on both sides. The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the Attorney General, before reacting to what it means for Iowa.”
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:08 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


After nearly four hours of passionate debate from supporters and opponents of the measure, the House approved the bill by a vote of 95-52 shortly after 9 p.m. The legislation, S.115, gives same-sex couples the right to marry in Vermont. The bill will be brought up again Friday for final approval, then return to the Senate...

UPDATE this afternoon from Vermont:
"The House has given final approval to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. But the tally was several votes short of the total needed to override a veto from Governor Jim Douglas.

And so the scramble is on by Democratic leaders to secure the votes they need.

...The override vote is on a fast track. Legislative leaders expect the governor to veto the bill on Monday. The bill will then return to the Senate, where leaders are confident they have the votes to override.

The bill's fate is much less certain in the House, where it passed with less than the two-thirds majority needed to make it law, despite the governor's objection. House Speaker Shap Smith says he's asking members to respect the legislative process.
'I think that part of it really is acknowledging the work of the Legislature and acknowledging the work of your colleagues, and acknowledging that more than two-thirds of the Senate have voted in favor of this bill, and more than 60 percent of the House. And it appears that a majority of Vermonters favor it. I think that that is a signal to members that they ought to vote to let it become law.'
Democrats are about four votes shy of pushing back the governor's veto.

But it's possible that some members who voted against the bill will change their tack on the override vote.

South Burlington Democrat Sonny Audette is a Catholic who did not support the bill for religious reasons. But Audette says he may change his mind and vote in favor of the override. [more ...]
Vermonters, contact your legislators!
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on April 3, 2009


Well it's as bad as it seems as far as Governor Culver is concerned. From an interview earlier this year:

Culver, speaking after he taped “Iowa Press,” said he doesn’t want to take action before the Supreme Court rules. However, if the court upholds a lower court ruling in favor of gay marriage, he said the Legislature can, and should, respond quickly.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to protect marriage between a man and a woman,” Culver said.


Culver's been a disappointment, or simply lived up to low expectations. His response to the flooding situation in the eastern part of the state has been almost Katrina-worthy. He came out in favor of the death penalty to appeal to the red meat Iowans, certain that he'd never have to deal with the issue as governor. It'll be interesting to see how he deals with this.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:31 PM on April 3, 2009


"It does until the next initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. This is awesome, but likely only temporarily awesome." -middleclasstool

Because constitutionalized segregation has worked so well for us in the past, right?

By the wording they seem to be using now, any ban on "gay marriage" will devolve to "They didn't get married in a church so they can't call it marriage. It's a CIVIL UNION."

Once it reaches that point it's essentially over. That's when I pat that rabid religious-righter on the head and walk away smiling.
posted by Darth Meatloaf at 3:39 PM on April 3, 2009


I'm just so completely proud of my home state right now. After so many years of wondering where this country was headed and even now in the midst of so many troubles, on days like today I am happy to be alive at this moment in history. Bless you, Iowa.
posted by Muddler at 3:59 PM on April 3, 2009


One further note on the Court - this was a unanimous decision which included by my count at least two Justices that were appointed by former Republican Governor Terry Branstad. Those two Justices are Chief Justice Marsha K. Ternus and Justice Mark S. Cady, the latter of the two is the author of this opinion.

Perhaps some truths really are self evident.
posted by Muddler at 4:20 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


applemeat: I also look forward to the day when all fair-minded Americans support gay rights as a matter of course—with no compulsion to add the disclaimer that they're straight.

rollbiz: applemeat, I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this, but I actively support marriage equality [...] and I always point out that I'm straight because I think that it is important that the opposition knows that there are those who support marriage equality who are not gay.

Thanks rollbiz, your clarification on why we straights might stress that we’re not personally affected by anti-gay laws when we speak out against them makes sense, and has made me think. My point was just that gay rights--or, rather, removal of bigoted and reactionary statutes unfairly facing people who are gay or lesbian--should be such a no-brainer as to render one’s own orientation status beside the point. [e.g. “Beating blue-eyed people with a stalk of celery is wrong” does not need the disclaimer “--Although MY eyes are brown!!”] But to clarify, we both agree that gay rights are common-sense civil rights that belong in a fair society. Full civil rights for gays and lesbians are coming. But maybe I’m a little too impatient.

posted by applemeat at 5:03 PM on April 3, 2009


A choice collection of freeper comments including my favorite:
Watch crop yields plumett now. God takes His revenge in many ways. Just ask those people burned out of their homes (or had their crops dry up from drought) in California. Russia’s crop yields plummeted too, once she became an atheistic nation in 1922.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:13 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


...this was a unanimous decision which included by my count at least two Justices that were appointed by former Republican Governor Terry Branstad.

Those Activist (Republican-Appointed) Judges
"Massachusetts (Goodridge, 2003) Margaret Marshall, appointed by Chief Justice Gov. Weld (R) in 1996, elevated to Chief by Gov. Cellucci (R);

in 1999 California (In re Marriage Cases, 2008) Ronald George, Chief Justice appointed by Gov. Wilson (R) in 1991, elevated to Chief by Gov. Wilson (R);

in 1996 Connecticut (Kerrigan, 2008) Richard Palmer, Associate Justice appointed by Gov. Weicker (Ind.); in 1993 -- Note that Weicker was a Republican during his time in the House and Senate. He won the governorship as an independent.

And today, in Iowa (Varnum, 2009) Mark Cady, Associate Justice, appointed by Gov. Branstad (R) in 1998."
Republicans Appointed Most Judges Making Pro-Gay Decisions
"...Republican governors appointed six of the seven justices on the Massachusetts high court that recently ruled gay couples have the right to marry, and Republican presidents appointed four of the six U.S. Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down Texas's law banning gay couples from having sex. 'The claim that "activist judges" are behind these rulings for equality is nothing short of a fraud. Our Constitution requires judges to be fair-minded and independent, regardless of their political beliefs and sometimes in the face of strong political opposition.'"
California Supreme Court Says Yes To Same-Sex Marriage
" The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory.

The court's 4-3 ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California.

...The court found marriage to be a 'fundamental constitutional right,' and that to deny that right to same-sex couples would require a compelling government interest. The Republican-dominated court said the state had failed to show such an interest.

...The chief justice was joined by Justices Joyce Kennard and Kathryn Werdegar, all three of whom were appointed by Republican governors, and Justice Carlos Moreno, the only member of the court appointed by a Democrat."
The right-wing branding that these have been decisions of "activist judges" is ludicrous and disingenuous.
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


What the USA needs is not a ban on gay marriage, but a ban on religious interference with the operation of government and law.

Anyhoo, congratulations Iowains!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:52 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


This made my day. Hooray for Gay, Straight and BI-owa!
posted by agregoli at 6:48 PM on April 3, 2009


I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the dire predictions from the 2007 metafilter thread about the the first glimmerings of this:

"The latest pyhrric victory for gay rights ... They're going to put this on the ballot in '08 and the Repubs will sweep every office in Iowa down to dog catcher."

"Good for gays temporarily, until the homophobes use it to rush through a state constitutional amendment."

"I worry that the bad guys are at their most dangerous just when we think they're losing ground. I won't breathe a sigh of relief until after the 2008 elections."

"Reversed in 5...4...3...2..."

"'[Spurred by the situation in Iowa,] Romney said he would renew his calls to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage' ... And so it begins."


(Now, admittedly, there were many, many people in that thread who argued against that point of view, and also a number who essentially said, "Iowa isn't Utah, and this may play out differently than you think.")

I know it's a little early to toast to complete victory what with Prop. 8 passing in California, civil unions stalling in Hawaii, Arizona and Florida passing horrendous laws, etc., etc., etc. But even so, I'll argue now what I argued then --

There little point in waiting for a more favorable political climate to try to get equal rights. In fact, that "more favorable climate" may only come *after* the civil rights battle has already occurred. And even if not, I think there comes a point where it's less important to be a pragmatist than it is to simply be against injustice.
posted by kyrademon at 7:28 PM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


No one mentioned it yet, but CT is also all about the same sex marriages for out of state couples. I'm a JP and I've done about 40 of them since November when the licenses were first able to be issued. It's looking like shortly the legislature is going to fully codify everything by changing the language on a few older laws.

Yay Iowa!
posted by teishu at 7:29 PM on April 3, 2009


"Watch crop yields plumett now. God takes His revenge in many ways. Just ask those people burned out of their homes (or had their crops dry up from drought) in California. Russia’s crop yields plummeted too, once she became an atheistic nation in 1922."

So what was the deal with Iowa's historic floods last year? Has god adopted the Bush Doctrine and begun preemptive punishments? Or was he punishing us for being intolerant? I'm confused.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:55 PM on April 3, 2009


the christoper hundreds, there are so many things wrong with that quote-- that's why it is my favorite!

1) God takes revenge. Makes him seem petty and not very omnipotent.

2) God doesn't bother with the judges-- giving them boils or causing them to go blind--but instead he punishes the farmers. Makes God seem like a parent who can't be bothered to see "who started it all" but just spanks the nearest child.

3) God doesn't punish NY for Wall Street's greedy shenanigans or NC for the murderous acts of one man who gunned down people in a nursing home, but God will punish Iowa for daring to make legal decisions concerning homosexuals. Once again, God's most important commandment (the one never written down) is Thou Shalt Not Lie With The Same Sex. Murdering, Coveting, Adultery, Blaspheming, etc. get a pass from God.

4) People who lost their homes to fire and farmers who lost their crops to drought are very, very bad people who deserved what they got. In this case their wickedness was living in a state that did something God didn't like.

5) Russia got into trouble with God for daring to go atheist. Big trouble. Crop yields down!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:01 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


God is a terrorist. It's time to invade the Vatican.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:54 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


You'll never take me alive!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:35 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The entire "speaking for God" thing bugs me - oh, yeah, clearly the floods happened because of his dislike of gays, somewhere. I thought about tracking the inverse of that, but I felt somewhat guilty about laughing my head off about the Boy Scout camp that was simply cursed after they won the right to exclude gays from staff.

Would it be petty to track that sort of thing? "Maybe your God doesn't really like you?" "Judge not lest you be judged?"
posted by Pronoiac at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2009


Jesus thinks you're a jerk. I wish we could hear what Frank would say about this today.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:20 PM on April 4, 2009


Truth is, God hates humans. And who can blame him? They're always doing the stupidest possible shit, like banning marriage and banning abortion and banning teaching and generally making life miserable for each other.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2009


"Do you know what the queers are doing to our soil?"

So that's why our lawn is so difficult to maintain. I thought that the gay guys across the way just got better sun but.... I still don't understand.

Seriously, yay Iowa.
posted by Morrigan at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2009


XQUZYPHYR: "The ruling, by the way, is am amazing read, ..."

Wow, someone finally thought of the children.
posted by mindless progress at 3:47 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did enough Domestic Relations work that it's very clear to me whereas laymen cannot seem to see it. I know it sounds discriminatory but it really isn't. All civil union says is: "Yes, you can get a legal marriage license and get legally married, but we're calling it something else to keep the wackos from going nuts."

Actually it really is discriminatory. Separate but equal is not equal. Your own Supreme Court made that very clear in Brown.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is unequal about it? Why is it not separate and equal?

Assuming you can cope with the Pope not giving his blessing, WTF difference does it make whether it's called "marriage" or "civil union" or "bleezblorpbloop"? Provided that your rights and responsibilities under law are the same, I fail to see any discrimination or not-equalness.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:56 PM on April 4, 2009


Because it's not the same. Equality under the law means equality. It doesn't mean 'you get your own schools and we get our own schools'--but then, you know this, and you're probably just trolling.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2009


What is unequal about it? Why is it not separate and equal?

Is there any other section of the law under which identical but non-congruent statutes are created in order to maintain separation? Are there parallel gun laws for hunting and target shooting? Do we maintain separate but equal driver licensing statutes for men and women? Have we developed two separate school systems, one for white students and one for brown ones? Oops, got a bit carried away there at the end...

I think it's already been judicially determined that separate != equal under US law.
posted by hippybear at 8:13 PM on April 4, 2009


Well, I just did some poking around and found this.

Looks like Canada has religious marriage, civil marriage, and civil unions. To have protection under the law, religious marriages must be supported by the signing of the civil marriage documents. Religious organizations can decide for themselves whether they perform all types of legal marriages. Civil service providers, i.e. the courthouse, must perform all types of legal marriage. The problem of whether a marriage commissioner must perform civil marriages that are against his/her religious beliefs is a matter that remains troublesome.

Those who shack up and live as a married couple are treated under civil union laws, which the courts have explicitly stated is a union short of marriage. In real terms, though, I'm not sure there's a whole lot of difference. I don't expect my wife and I, after twenty-odd years together, would be able to dodge any of the divorce laws should we break up contentiously.

Actually, it appears parts of Canada more liberal than I'd thought. In Alberta ("Canada's Texas") it looks like even siblings can be "married". They call it "adult interdependent relationship" and it falls just shy of all the legal rights and responsibilities of a full-on marriage, but hey-ho, is it ever close to being "married."
posted by five fresh fish at 10:32 AM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


While Iowa is moving forward, the country we recently liberated is not: Iraqis execute six gay men in past 10 days.
posted by homunculus at 5:00 PM on April 5, 2009


me: "It's blizzarding here (in Iowa) today"
friend: "That's because God hates Iowa, obviously."
me: "Haha, yes, because we love the gays!"
posted by sararah at 8:30 PM on April 5, 2009


Oh yeah, sararah? Well then, why don't you marry them???
posted by Pronoiac at 11:23 PM on April 5, 2009


snerk.
posted by sararah at 7:15 AM on April 6, 2009


What is unequal about it? Why is it not separate and equal?

A few months ago the NJ Civil Union Review Commission, in its final report, found that civil unions are effectively unequal to marriage.
posted by Tin Man at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2009


Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Vetoes Same-Sex Marriage Bill.
"The Vermont House and Senate are expected to vote to override the veto tomorrow. An override is expected in the Senate while the House is still unclear."
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on April 6, 2009


Marriage Equality Foes in Iowa Attempting to Reverse Court Ruling.
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on April 6, 2009


Oops, got a bit carried away there at the end...

Well played, hippybear.
posted by thewestinggame at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2009


Fuck you, Jim Douglas.

There's no winning on this issue with some people. If it's decided in the courts, that's wrong because it's activist! judges!, and if the legislature passes a bill...well, in this case, I don't understand what the hell Douglas is going on about. The bill won't make a difference in federal recognition of marriage? Other states won't recognize it? WHAT? So no loaf is better than none, is that it, Jim? Oh, except, you know, for the people who actually LIVE IN YOUR STATE, you MORON. They'd like a fucking sandwich, and you're throwing away perfectly good bread because you think it's an all-or-nothing deal. Fuck you.

....

And now that I've read his whole statement, I see that really, he believes that separate but equal is just fine. Really really fuck you, Jim.
posted by rtha at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2009


Nothing news but a nice speech: Gronstal blocks amendment to reverse Iowa marriage equality (YouTube).
posted by starman at 6:00 AM on April 7, 2009


House Joins Senate in Veto Override -- Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in Vermont.
posted by ericb at 8:16 AM on April 7, 2009


*jumping and dancing in cubeland*

Yeah! You go, Vermont! Green Mountain State Rocks!
posted by rtha at 8:48 AM on April 7, 2009


And now some good news from DC, as well.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:00 AM on April 7, 2009


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