Saturday, September 1, 2007

Some more on the Iowa case

The Iowa Independent has a small summary of the recent ruling (which, by the way, the judge stayed, though not before over twenty same-sex couples got married):
The defense presented five interests which they argued were "legitimate governmental interests" served by the current statute. Hanson's decision rejected the fifth interest presented, which was "promoting the concept of fundamental marriage or the integrity of traditional marriage."

Citing Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 decision handed down by the US Supreme Court (based on "its own case law," not Iowa's), Hanson noted that "neither history nor tradition could save a law prohibiting miscegenation from constitutional attack." Preserving tradition for tradition's sake, therefore, is not a legitimate governmental interest.

Using US Supreme Court case law is justified, Hanson explained, "Because the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution are at least coextensive with those found in the United States Constitution."

Therefore, the fifth of the interests presented by the defense -- the protection of traditional marriage -- is not "legitimate." Hanson deemed the first three interests presented, roughly dealing with "responsible procreation," and the fourth interest presented, roughly "the conservation of state and private resources," to be legitimate.

For those interests, Hanson proceeded to the second task before the court: to determine whether the current statute "bears a rational relationship to accomplishment" of the said interests.

Plaintiffs offered admissible evidence intended to prove that denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage does not bear a rational relationship to accomplishing responsible reproduction. According to Hanson, the defendant did not offer admissible counter-evidence and agreed with many of the plaintiffs' claims.

Citing Iowa precedent, Hanson decided that "If responsible procreation is the goal, then the institution of marriage should be made available to all couples who can responsible procreate, regardless of whether the couple is traditionally recognized one. The traditional make-up of the family has changed."

Further, "by excluding all same-sex couples from marriage, the statute actually defeats the purpose of responsible procreation by excluding qualified individuals from marriage," Hanson wrote. "In addition, their exclusion defeats the state's admitted interest in the welfare of all of its children, regardless of whether they are parented by different-sex couples, same-sex couples or any other family unit."

Well put.

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