From The Advocate:
Iowa Court rules for Marriage Equality… By Julie Bolcer
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously this morning that gays and lesbians in the state have the right to marry, the Des Moines Register reports.
“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision.
According to the decision, “the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.”
The case, Varnum v. Brien, involved six same-sex couples who sued Polk County recorder Timothy Brien after being denied marriage licenses. The couples challenged the Iowa law that says marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Polk County District Judge Robert Hanson sided with the couples in 2007, but suspended his decision pending a ruling from the high court. Today’s ruling affirms that decision.
“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,” Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy said in a joint statement.
The decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state to allow same-sex marriages, and only the fourth in the nation to have achieved marriage equality. (Marriage equality currently exists in Massachusetts and Connecticut. California, which allowed same-sex marriage for five months in 2008 after a supreme court ruling in its favor, is currently in limbo over the Proposition 8 voter initiative to overturn it, now back in the court’s hands.)