Saturday, April 04, 2009

*Another Small Victory For Gay Marriage Rights- The Iowa Case

Click On Title To Link To July 2, 2009 "New York Review Of Books" Article Entitled "The Same-Sex Future" By David Cole That Gives An Update On This Struggle And A Capsule Of The Various Positions On The Issue.


Full Marriage (And Divorce) Rights For Gays And Lesbians!

In this space I have, more often than I would like, noted that on some key democratic questions, here the question of equal access to the marriage bureau for gays and lesbians, we get help from some unlikely sources. As always though, we will take our small but important victories anyway we can get them. In this case it is the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous verdict in the gay marriage case before the justices of that court. The Iowa decision was unusual in that it was unanimous, unlike in the other successful cases in Massachusetts, Connecticut and California where the justices were closely divided (as were decisions in some other states like New York and Washington that went the other way). Moreover, it is very significant that this is a case decided in the heartland of America, the “mainstream”, and not on either of the two “assumed” to be more liberal coasts.

As I have mentioned before in discussing this issue the core location of the struggle for the democratic right for gays and lesbians to have access to the marriage bureaus now appears to be in the states. The highest courts of three states (Massachusetts and Connecticut, along with this recent Iowa case) and a now overturned fourth, California, have held that such restrictive marriage regulations are unconstitutional in their unequal application and do not serve any rational governmental purpose. Although this represents a small minority (and here is where the initiative defeat in California in November 2008 really slowed down the momentum) there is something of a “snowball” effect to these kinds of judicial decisions as other state supreme courts now have some precedents to hang their hands on.

But that is for later. For now though, another small victory goes into the books as it does not appear that the Iowa state legislature is up to overturning the court’s decision by either supporting an initiative petition or convening a constitutional convention. As always our slogan remains- Full democratic rights for gays and lesbians, for the full rights of marriage (and divorce) to all.

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