Iowa Court Ruling Encourages Opponents of Prop 8

April 4, 2009 12:22:59 AM PDT
Gay marriage supporters in Iowa are happy their states ban on same sex unions has been overturned. Local advocates of same sex marriage, like Jason Scott, are hoping what happens in Iowa will have an impact here."I'm definitely happy about the decision. What any other state does or any other country of course has an effect on use here in California, so we're hoping the Supreme Court here will see that progress is being made around the country." Scott said.Jason and his partner were married during the brief time same sex marriages were allowed in California. But attorney Tony Capozzi believes there's a key difference in what Iowa's high court considered, and what California's Supreme Court is deciding. "I don't see where the Iowa Supreme Court decision will have any effect on the case before the supreme court now in California. In California the Supreme Court is deciding a constitutional amendment, in Iowa it was a state law that the supreme court said violates the equal protection clause." Capozzi said.

The California Supreme Court also struck down the state law banning same sex marriage, as being unconstitutional but the voting public responded by changing the constitution by passing Proposition 8. Capozzi says the same thing could happen in Iowa.

"Now in Iowa, the citizens may go out and seek to have a constitutional amendment passed by the people. If they do that, they will be in the same position we are in California."

Under the Iowa ruling there appears to be no grounds for an appeal. Unlike California, under Iowa law it's much more difficult for voters to change the constitution.

Whether it applies legally or not, the fact that Iowa, a state perceived to represent the values of Middle America now allows same sex marriage is seen as a big step forward for opponents of Prop 8.

Jason Scott put it this way, "As they say, as Iowa goes, so goes the nation. That's something we hear in elections but I think it has relevance in this case as well."

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