Iowa's Supreme Court legalized gay marriage Friday in a unanimous and emphatic decision that makes Iowa the third state — and first in the nation's heartland — to allow same-sex couples to wed.
In its decision, the high court upheld a lower court's ruling that found a state law restricting marriage to between a man and woman only violated Iowa's constitution.
"If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded," the court stated in its ruling.
The first thing I will contribute to the din surrounding today's events is that this is a decision of the Iowa Supreme Court, which means they decided that the Iowa state constitution left no room for hedging on marriage rights. That constitution, according to the decision, contains an equal protection clause that precludes the statute in question. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage or "the Bible says so" or it's nature rather than nurture or it puts us on the road to Santorum's famous man-on-dog sex is all irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what the statute says, and what the Iowa state constitution says. So to all the pundits and columnists and talking heads sure to flog this story: until you have read the relevant passages of those documents (along with similarly relevant court precedents, of course), you have no standing to opine on whether these judges made the right call whatsoever.
The second thing I'll add is that I will be shocked if Iowa hasn't passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage by the end of 2010.