Iowa High Court Mulls Constitutional Right to Gay Marriage
Posted Dec 10, 2008 12:16 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday on whether a state law barring gay marriages violates the state constitution.
Dennis Johnson, the lawyer for gay couples challenging the ban, said the law violates the right to equal treatment and due process guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution, the New York Times reports. If the court agrees with Johnson, the state would become the first in the Midwest to allow same-sex marriage, according to the story.
Justices asked whether allowing gays to marry would change the institution of marriage, or whether it would allow polygamy. Johnson said neither would happen, the Times story says.
“We’re not suggesting a new institution,” Johnson said. “We’re suggesting that everyone be able to participate equally.”
Arguing for Polk County, where a judge struck down the law, lawyer Roger Kuhle said the law has a historical justification. “The essential factor of marriage, which is procreation, which is raising children, which is replenishing society, has never changed,” he said.