Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iowa Gay Marriage Ban Overturned

Iowa Gay Marriage Ban Overturned
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 30, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Des Moines, Iowa) A Des Moines judge late Thursday afternoon stuck down the state's law that prevents same-sex couples from marrying.

Judge Robert B. Hanson ruled that the state's so-called Defense of Marriage Act violates the Iowa state constitution.

In his decision, Hanson said, "Couples, such as Plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 595 by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex."

The case began in December 2005 when six same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses.

The couples are represented by Lambda Legal and former Iowa Solicitor General Dennis Johnson who is now in private practice.

"I have faith that once my fellow Iowans see the inherent injustice in leaving these families without the protections of marriage, they will support allowing these couples to marry," said Johnson outside the court when arguments were made in the case in May.

Johnson and Lambda argued that under the equal protection and due process guarantees in the Iowa State Constitution it is unlawful to bar same-sex couples from marrying.

Papers filed with the court included affidavits from the same-sex couples in the lawsuit explaining first-hand to the court why they want to marry and the harms they suffer from being denied this right.

Also included were friend of the court briefs by faith leaders and religious groups from across the state which support of the right for same-sex couples to marry.

In one amicus brief Dr. Michael Lamb, a world-renowned child developmental psychologist said that "children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents."

The Iowa Civil Liberties Union also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the couples on behalf of Iowa law professors and historians.

It is expected the case will be appealed and eventually go to the Iowa Supreme Court.

© 2007

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