Constitutional Law

Same-Sex Iowa Couples Can Marry


The judge’s ruling was so recent that one man was listed as the groom and the other was listed as the bride on their Polk County, Iowa, marriage license application. But what was important to Gary Allen Seronko, 51, and David Curtis Rethmeier, 29, was that the license application was accepted, because same-sex couples now have the right to marry in that one county of their home state.

Polk County Judge Robert Hanson ruled today that an Iowa law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, deciding a suit by six gay couples who were denied marriage licenses, reports the Associated Press.

Dennis Johnson, a Des Moines lawyer who represented the six plaintiff couples hailed the decision as “a moral victory for equal rights.”

Not everyone is happy about the judge’s decision, however. Polk County plans to appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court, according to County Attorney John Sarcone, and has sought a stay to prevent gay couples from seeking marriage licenses until the appeal is relsolved.

Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal in New York City, says a hearing on the stay motion will likely take place next week.

(Updated 08-31-07 at 10:13 a.m. CST)

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