Iowa’s surprising decision

April 3, 2009
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I’ll admit it, I’m surprised the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled civil marriage isn’t only for a man and woman. Iowa is in the Midwest and many people in this part of the country have deep-seated, often religious influences on their reasons for opposing gay marriage.

I’d expect an East Coast or West Coast state with big cities and more diverse populations to approve gay marriage, but somewhere in the Midwest? I never thought I’d see that anytime soon.

I skimmed the opinion authored by Justice Mark S. Cady this morning shortly after it was handed down and it’s well-written and pretty interesting. That state’s high court found the gay marriage ban violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

Justice Cady wrote, “Our responsibility, however, is to protect constitutional rights of individuals from legislative enactments that have denied those rights, even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted, were at one time unimagined, or challenge a deeply ingrained practice or law viewed to be impervious to the passage of time.”

One argument of the county against gay marriage was studies have shown two-parent households with a mother and a father is the most optimal situation to raise children in and a gay household would be detrimental to the well-being of children. On that Justice Cady wrote, "If the marriage statute was truly focused on optimal parenting, many classifications of people would be excluded, not merely gay and lesbian people.”

The ruling got me thinking about how our Supreme Court might decide the issue here. I know the circumstances of a lawsuit wouldn’t be the same and our state constitutions differ, but if given the facts of the Iowa suit here, would our high court reach the same conclusion? Does this ruling also open the door to more Midwestern states allowing same-sex civil marriages or civil unions?
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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