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Tilting at Windmills

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April 3, 2009

MARRIAGE EQUALITY ADVANCES IN IOWA, VERMONT.... In Iowa, consenting adults can now get legally married, regardless of their sexual orientation.

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning struck down a 1998 state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman.

The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.

The decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the fourth nationwide, to allow same-sex marriages. Lawyers for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group that financed the court battle and represented the couples, had hoped to use a court victory to demonstrate acceptance of same-sex marriage in heartland America.

The server is a little overwhelmed this morning, but the state Supreme Court's ruling, which was unanimous, is online.

The change won't be immediate, and county and state governments in Iowa will reportedly get a few months to put procedural changes in place. In the meantime, opponents of marriage equality will begin a renewed push for an amendment to the state constitution, though that's likely to take a while.

What's more, about 12 hours before the ruling in Iowa, Vermont's state House joined the state Senate in passing legislation to allow gay marriage in the Green Mountain State. The final vote was 95 to 52.

The Vermont measure will be vetoed by the state's Republican governor, Jim Douglas, though proponents remain cautiously optimistic that the legislature can override the veto.

All in all, it's an encouraging day for social justice in America.

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

I better start husband-hunting.

Posted by: Saint Zak on April 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

In Iowa, two successive General Assemblies must approve an amendment before it can go on the ballot, which means we wouldn't see anything from them until 2011 at the earliest. Even if we approve a Constitutional Convention in 2010, that process could be even slower.

To reiterate what Steve said, we'll have some time to breathe before anything serious starts moving.

Posted by: ng on April 3, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Proud Iowan right here!

I love the smell of progress and equality in the morning!!!!!!!!

Posted by: GiggsisGod on April 3, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

he he he, now "teh gay" can swim right up the missippi to mncd6, oh the horrors....

Posted by: the seal on April 3, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.

I hate it when newspapers or any news outlet uses the language the haters want them to use.

"Protecting traditional families" sounds like some sort of noble cause, when that sentence should read: "social conservatives who wanted to stigmatize gay people because they are rotten, mean little people, who want to ram their personal set of beliefs down everyone else's throat."

Posted by: rob! on April 3, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I hate it when newspapers or any news outlet uses the language ["protect traditional marriage"] the haters want them to use.

Ditto. How much of an intellectual and emotional loser do you have to be to argue that the wedding of the two men or two women down the street has a negative effect on your own marriage? Love and commitment are not a zero-sum game, fools.

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I've always jokingly told my special lady that we would get married when "teh gays" could get married as a matter of solidarity. Well, looks like I am going to have to tap the "Ring Fund".

I know we have a long way to go, both here in Iowa with the inevitable battle to amend the State Constitution as well as across the country, but I can't help but smile on great days like this. Progress may be slow, but it is still progress.

Posted by: GiggsisGod on April 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Are there any gay folk IN Iowa???

Just kidding!

Great news overall. Social conservatives are finding themselves just so much roadkill on the Highway to the Future. If I was driving, I'd back up and run them over a few more times.

Posted by: Breezeblock on April 3, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

"a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families."

That line caught my eye too. What pray tell are socos 'protecting' us from????

High divorce rates pushed even higher because of gays?
Spousal abuse/neglect and domestic crime rates increasing?
0% of children who are confused by same sex marriages and turn into gay people?

These socos really need a reality check.... And a priority check.

Posted by: palinoscopy on April 3, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

The decline and fall of Western civilization continues...

We are no longer on the road to decline. We are already there. Much as the Romans didn't realize what happened to their empire until years after the fact, so we have succumbed to the excesses and debauchery of our days.

Posted by: Samuel on April 3, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, show of hands--who here thinks Samuel has dreams of bare-chested he-men riding unicorns, and is deeply troubled by it, so much so he doth protest too much??

Posted by: rob! on April 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Much as the Romans didn't realize what happened to their empire until years after the fact, so we have succumbed to the excesses and debauchery of our days.

No, some of us knew perfectly well that Wall Street was screwing us and were fighting excess and debauchery every step of the way.

Posted by: gwangung on April 3, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

very proud to be an Iowan this morning. The decision is even more amazing in that it was authored by the justice who appeared most skeptical of marriage equality at oral arguments.

the DM Register did, however, use a pretty loaded and offensive dichotomy in its lead-up to the release of the opinion this morning, noting we would find out "if the Supreme Court will strengthen Iowa's marriage law or allow gay marriage."

Personally, I think the justices unanimously did strengthen Iowa's marriage laws this morning, and I couldn't be happier for all of my friends who now get to figure out who to offend as they cut their invite lists down to size and what to do with the three identical crock pots they got as gifts. :)

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 3, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Good point, Zeitgeist.

Rethuglicans should look at this as a pro-business decision! Think of all the wedding gifts that will now be sold because of all the marriage ceremonies that are going to take place! Crock pots for all!

Posted by: rob! on April 3, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

I live in rural Iowa and there are some scary folks with guns here who are obsessed with gay marriage meaning the end of civilization. I sure hope it's all talk. It will be tense around here for a while. No more heated bullshit sessions in the bar for me.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on April 3, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Methinks Samuel doth express his sarcasm and wit tongue in cheek. Or he is a brain addled and not in possesion of his faculties. I for one on this news shall immediatly petition for divorce as it has destroyed my marriage.

Posted by: John R on April 3, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

The way I see it the whole "we are protecting traditional families and the institution of marriage so society doesn't crumble" argument is a BS PR front for "we don't like gays and don't want any societal acceptance of them whatsoever". It's sounds like a noble cause rather than a campaign of ignorance, hate and discrimination.
That's why as soon as the homophobes - and that's what they are...and bigots - get their precious ban on gay marriage, they immediately go after civil unions.

I'm sure if they thought they could show their true colors they would be trying to criminalize homosexuality altogether, well beyond the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws.

Posted by: GiggsisGod on April 3, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent work, Iowans! Now make history again and put a woman into your Congressional delegation! I know you can do it!

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Michael, I had the same sad thought this morning. I have seen and heard some really scary rhetoric (especially online) in the last 24 hours. While I wish and understand great celebrating today and this weekend, I can't help but harbor some fear for the safety of my gay and lesbian friends particularly in the next 48 hours or so. This opinion shows the best side of Iowa; lets hope all the rest of the news this weekend remains as positive and impressive.

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 3, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

The way I see it the whole "we are protecting traditional families and the institution of marriage so society doesn't crumble" argument

Well, they never say just how it's supposed to crumble, other than data-free fretting about children raised by gay couples having undefined "problems." Do they think that straights will suddenly stop getting married and reproducing, marking the end of humankind on his grossly overpopulated earth? Do they fear that, released from the social confines of hetero-only marriage laws, straights by the millions will get their gay on and choose same-sex life partners? WTF?

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The verdict in Iowa shows that this isn't strictly a coastal thing anymore.

To Ellen De Generes, celebrate -- do a week's worth of shows from Des Moines!

Posted by: Vincent on April 3, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

"The verdict in Iowa shows that this isn't strictly a coastal thing anymore. "

Yes--the rot runs deep and continues to spread. The dictates of nature have been re-written by the hand of the state. As noted earlier, the decline is upon us.

As Flavius wrote: "It is not our conquerors who have taken us over, but our own excesses..." (Paraphrasing of course).

Posted by: Samuel on April 3, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Good one, John R. There must be someone you can sue for this; the dirty home wreckers.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on April 3, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

An old friend and his partner own one the few (and probably the most well-known) gay bars in downtown DSM. I assume they are aware of today's decision and I hope they understand the potential for violent backlash, but I will have to call them just in case. Their establishment has certainly seen it's share of violence and vandalism over the years.

shortstop -
That's my point. For a vast majority on the right it's a BS argument. They know it as well as we do. It's spin. Probably even focus-group tested. It makes no sense and there is nothing to back it up. They are homophobes but even they know that is not reason enough to keep gays from having equal rights. So they make up a fake argument about protecting marriage when it is all about their fear of acceptance by society of the "Homosexual Lifestyle".

Posted by: GiggsisGod on April 3, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Some of the haters have been educated to feel that way by so-called respected institutions. Priests and nuns told us that homosexuality was a major factor in the fall of the Roman empire.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on April 3, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Who would have guessed that Iowa would light the way for the Midwest?

My kid was raised in a gay household. She doesn't seem confused about anything, other than where she might find work now that she's home from Iraq. And she's about as hetero as a girl can be.

And shortstop, that's exactly what they fear: the unleashing of "teh gay" within themselves. Such temptation!

Posted by: Gaia on April 3, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

That's my point.

Oh, I know, GisG. I was just chimin' in.

Samuel's one of the better parodies of late. The solemn tone of doom is good stuff.

Gaia, hey, girl!

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Do they fear that, released from the social confines of hetero-only marriage laws, straights by the millions will get their gay on and choose same-sex life partners?

Now that Iowa has mainstreamed it, yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do....

Posted by: Stefan on April 3, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I honestly don't think we queers can fuck up marriage any more than Britney Spears, drive-thru Vegas chapels, Dominican sex tourist Rush Limpballs, adulterer and bigamist John McCain, shows like "The Bachelor," "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire," and "Surprise Wedding," and the nearing 60% divorce rate in this country already have. Who needs gays to fuck up and degrade marriage? We have Republicans, straight people, and TV networks for that!

Posted by: Keori on April 3, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Iowa has mainstreamed it, yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do....

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: As Des Moines goes, so goes Manhattan.

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

One proud Iowan here. Following the dictates of my own nature and not Samuel's, thank you very much.

Posted by: stinger on April 3, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

As Des Moines goes, so goes Manhattan.

Excellent. Just had to call IT for a new keyboard (was drinking water when I read this), but so worth it.

Posted by: Gaia on April 3, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Good for Iowa. Iowa often gets a bad rap, but they run a pretty sensible government. So sensible that nobody really notices. Except for today. I don't find myself in Iowa very often, but when I do, I'm always amazed at how pleasant and sensible the people are there. They really are the salt of the earth. And their political acumen is stunning. But I guess you'd expect that from people who are used to seeing presidential candidates in their living room. Not on TV, actually standing in their living room. If anyone deserves that treatment, it's the people of Iowa. Every Iowan should be proud today.

Posted by: fostert on April 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: As Des Moines goes, so goes Manhattan.

My traditional urban values are simply no match for those radical, effete rural farmers and their gay agenda (or even their gay kitchen calendars). I mean, the tethers holding me to heterosexuality were already pretty frayed, but after this? They've snapped completely. I'm putting on a pair of overalls, a Filson tin cloth jacket and a cap and I'm goin' husband' huntin'.

Posted by: Stefan on April 3, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Where are the lib champions of equal rights for polygamists and polyandrists? Aren't they PC enough for liberals?

Posted by: Luther on April 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Where are the lib(sic) champions...for polygamists and polyandrists?" Luther @ 4:04 PM.
At present the only polygamy-based cases I know of are Mormon related and too often reek of child abuse/rape. Where all the participants are consenting adults I, personally, see no harm. I also see no groundswell of demand for it, either.
When/if that groundswell ever develops, you be sure to get back to me, hear?

Posted by: Doug on April 3, 2009 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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