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Gay Marriage Allowed in Iowa

2009-04-06

Category: politics

Last week, the Iowa State Supreme Court threw out a law banning gay marriage in the state. They said the law was unconstitutional under the state's constitution. This has everyone talking.

The immediate effect of the law is that it makes marriage between homosexual persons legal in the state. That makes Iowa one of three states in the U.S. that allow gay marriage. Proponents of gay marriage are happy with the decision. Others are not.

Most opponents tend to site religious reasons for their opposition. Many Iowans see such religious groups as extremists who, if they get their way on this issue will then try to get their way on other ideas and that would end up dangerous. For some who oppose the religious extremist groups, the groups are welcome to their opinion the same way they are welcome to spend their lives in forced labor camps.

The ruling only struck down the existing law banning gay marriage and does not, technically, prevent other prohibitions. The state legislature could pass a new law or, as some wish, to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as being between a man and farm animals a woman.

The amendment is unlikely because Iowans are too pragmatic. There are bigger things to worry about and all the energy that an amendment needs could go toward those more immediate issues. What's more, we have a long history of saying, "leave folks alone."

One outcome that surprised me was the discussion about Iowa's image. Some seem to think of Iowa as some backward, Arkansian inbred, ultra-conservative place. That does not sound like the state that gave the world the first electronic, digital computer or Dr. James Van Allen. It wasn't enough that Iowa was the first state to nominate Barack Obama who would become the nation's first black president. I wonder if the lift of the gay marriage ban will really change our reputation. As long as we don't get an influx of refugees from other states, we should be ok.

Overall, I don't think the decision will really change things on the large scale. Iowa will still be Iowa. We will still be a practical folk whose only really questionable decision is why are they living in a place where it is well over a hundred degrees with high humidity in summer but well below zero in winter with blowing snow everywhere. People will still think this is where the potatoes come from and picture us all in bib overalls and straw hats. That's the way we like it.


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