The gay marriage issue is almost like a football match—only it actually matters. Each side is passionate, and knows they’re right. So how, as a nation, do we move toward supporting equal rights for all—a tenet fundamental to our existence as a Nation—while respecting the will of the people? Is it either or? Excerpt:
Around the nation, only Massachusetts and Connecticut permit same-sex marriage.California, which briefly allowed gay marriage before a voter initiative in November repealed it, allows domestic partnerships.
New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont also offer civil unions, which provide many of the same rights that come with marriage. New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and legislators there and in New Jersey are weighing whether to offer marriage. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Vermont has cleared the Legislature but may be vetoed by the governor.
Iowa just struck down their gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, despite popular support of the ban:
“The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion,” said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.
The ruling set off celebration among the state’s gay-marriage proponents.
“Iowa is about justice, and that’s what happened here today,” said Laura Fefchak, who was hosting a verdict party in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale with partner of 13 years, Nancy Robinson.
…Richard Socarides, an attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights to President Clinton, said the ruling carries extra significance coming from Iowa.
“It’s a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage…
It’s opponents were equally as dismayed.
“I would say the mood is one of mourning right now in a lot of ways, and yet the first thing we did after internalizing the decision was to walk across the street and begin the process of lobbying our legislators to let the people of Iowa vote,” said Bryan English, spokesman for the conservative group the Iowa Family Policy Center…
“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision.
And later in the ruling, they said: “Equal protection under the Iowa Constitution is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike. Since territorial times, Iowa has given meaning to this constitutional provision, striking blows to slavery and segregation, and recognizing women’s rights. The court found the issue of same-sex marriage comes to it with the same importance as the landmark cases of the past.”