Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court does what courts are supposed to do

It's too much to hope that today's unanimous decision by the state Supreme Court in Iowa invalidating a law that banned same-sex marriage will begin to quiet the unconscionable rhetoric from the homophobic among us, but at least logic has prevailed even briefly. No doubt, the forces of intolerance are planning a ballot-box assault on the court ruling, just like what happened in California. But it's really long past time to retire such ignorance. Our guiding principles and laws guarantee equal treatment to everyone. Gay people think they ought to be able to get married. That's it, game over. End of story. What anyone thinks God wants is immaterial. The United States is a nation of laws that apply to everyone, not subject to some people's definition of religion. The ruling, which takes effect in 21 days, makes Iowa the third state to legalize same-sex marriage after Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to Cable News Network (CNN). "This is a great day for civil rights in Iowa," said former Iowa Solicitor-General Dennis Johnson, who represented six same-sex couples on behalf of Lambda Legal, an arm of a gay rights organization. "Go get married. Live happily ever." But a conservative Iowa nonprofit research group had a reverse reaction. "It's, quite frankly, a disaster," said Brian English, a spokesman for the Iowa Family Policy Center. "Obviously, we're extremely disappointed," he said. "We're saddened . . . and perhaps a little bit surprised in the unanimous decision that the court handed down." San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who captured the imagination of the entire country when he allowed gay people to marry in San Francisco for a brief time in 2004, applauded the Iowa court's decision. Newsom said he was "very proud" of Iowa's high court for "standing tall on equality.

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