Friday, April 3, 2009

Marriage Equality Comes to Iowa

"What a Difference a Day Makes"

Occasionally citing the May 2008 California Supreme Court decision in In re Marriage Cases, the Iowa Supreme Court today unanimously held that the state constitution's guarantee of equal protection requires the state to allow same-sex couples to marry civilly. Adopting a practical analysis, the Court determined that the marriage exclusion discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. Following the Connecticut Supreme Court in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (after independent analysis), the Iowa Supreme Court held that discrimination against gay men and lesbians must be tested by a less deferential form of judicial review than applies in run of the mill cases of legislative distinctions. Because the Court concluded that the marriage ban could not pass intermediate scrutiny, the Court didn't need to decide whether sexual orientation discrimination should receive the least deferential form of review, strict scrutiny.

The Court's decision goes into effect in 21 days [**unless the losers file a petition for rehearing, which could somewhat delay things**-edit]. It's opinion is here, though this morning the Court's web site is extremely busy.

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