Iowa Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

Yesterday, the Iowa Supreme court issued a unanimous ruling declaring the state's "Defense of Marriage" act unconstitutional. I am not a legal scholar, and must pull my understanding of this ruling from other sources. In essence, the Court has determined that the State Constitution forbids discrimination in issuing marriage licenses based on the sex of the people applying for the license. By specifically defining marriage as between a man and a woman, the DOMA took on the state constitution and lost. Big time.

I'm very happy that I was right about my initial take on the issue. I do know for sure that at this moment proud to be an Iowan.

Nutcase Heaven

It's pledge drive week on NPR, and I hate the constant nagging, so I'm doing my semi-annual cross over to the dark side and listening to FOX radio. It helps me keep my perspective on why I am a liberal. Anyways, we have the local nutcase talk show host Jan Mickelson, who happened to be on just after the decision was handed down.

Gosh, if Jan is right about the meaning of this court decision, the court's next step will be to legalize hermaphrodite schizophrenic polygamist children marrying their incestuous half lizard half monkey cousins. Then hellfire will rain down upon the great state of Iowa and it will sink into a river of magma and be swallowed up by the very earth.

The religious fundamentalists have certainly represented on the Des Moines Register web site as well demonstrating why an independent judiciary is, of course, so very critical to our system of government! The real irony is that in affirming the state constitution's applicability to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, the court also affirmed the various churches' right to continue to discriminate - a wrinkle lost for the most part on the nutcase interpretation.

Of course, the hand wringing and hysterical posturing is hopefully no more than a tempest in a teapot. Assuming that the state legislature acts at the next possible opportunity to introduce a constitutional amendment, it could not be on the statewide ballot until 2012 at the very earliest. Leaders have indicated already that they are "not inclined" to do so.

I suspect that there are sizable number of Iowans who are not quite comfortable with the idea but will grow all right with it over time as they realize that gay marriage simply doesn't affect them a whole lot.

The Emotional Side

I have a childhood friend who lives and recently got married in Massachusetts. He and his husband are coming back to Iowa to host a reception for "locals" at his parents' house in a few weeks - I suspect that Iowa officially recognizing their union will hold particular meaning to them.

On the Pragmatic Side?

Iowa has no residency requirement for marriage. This opens up the door for Iowa to become a wedding destination (like Hawaii or the Bahamas?). It is expected that gay and lesbian couples coming to Iowa to marry could bring with them millions of dollars to spend in the local economy. Read: tax dollars and direct expenditures.

Not only can Iowa blaze trails as an open, diverse, and welcoming place for committed couples to celebrate, but perhaps we could also take advantage of the "tourist" audience of family members and friends who will accompany them.

Let's sell Iowa as a welcoming, interesting, diverse, creative place to live - not just a wonderful place to get married.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question tests whether you are a human visitor in order to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.