Friday, August 31, 2007

Gay Marriage Ruled Legal in Iowa

In a brave blow for equality, an Iowa judge has struck down the state's oppressive same-sex marriage ban.

My new hero, Judge Robert Hanson ruled that the denial of marriage rights to gays and lesbians is a violation of the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.

We have constitutional rights in this country?

The judge said the state law banning same-sex marriage must be nullified, severed and stricken from the books and the marriage laws "must be read and applied in a gender neutral manner so as to permit same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage..."

The case will be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which could refer it to the Iowa Court of Appeals, consider the case itself or decide not to hear the case.

Less than two hours after the story hit the press, "two Des Moines men applied at the Polk County recorder's office for a marriage license, and for the first time the application was accepted." (It takes 3 days to get the license.)

Gary Allen Seronko, 51, was listed as the groom and David Curtis Rethmeier, 29, the bride on the application. "I started to cry because we so badly want to be able to be protected if something happens to one of us," Rethmeier said.

Iowa is expecting a veritable flood of applications beginning at 7am today. It may be a tsunami.

Of course the defenders of discrimination intend to seek a stay. And if it is granted, there will be no same-sex marriage licenses issued until an appeal is heard. And if it is not granted . . .

The Advocate reports: Camilla Taylor and Kenneth Upton Jr., senior staff attorneys with Lambda Legal, argued for the plaintiffs alongside Dennis Johnson, a Des Moines attorney. Taylor said that the decision will hold up in the higher courts because Iowa has a track record of supporting equal treatment and due process under the law.

Mitt Romney is already whining.