MUCH gnashing and wailing of teeth comes this weekend from conservative Iowa, where glassy-eyed, slack-mouthed homophobes discovered the inefficacy of prayer regarding gay marriage.
Despite a coalition of fundies calling on The Big Guy in the Sky to intercede on their behalf, the State Supreme Court, according to a glum Baptist Press:
Handed homosexual activists a stunning victory, ruling unanimously in the nation’s heartland that â€˜gay marriage’ must be legalized in a mere three weeks.
The decision overturned a 1998 law that had defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Not counting California – where voters overturned a court ruling – Iowa becomes the third state in the US to allow gay marriage, and easily the most conservative one to date. Two states in the Northeast, Connecticut and Massachusetts, also recognise such relationships. Iowa is the first state outside the Northeast or the Pacific coast to legalise either gay marriage or civil unions.
The decision, fundies wailed, would have a negative impact on religious freedom. Said Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center:
The seven justices, though, said the Iowa Constitution’s equal protection clause requires that gay marriage be recognised. Their ruling upheld a lower court ruling that had also sided with gay activists.
This means, by force of law, every schoolchild in Iowa will be taught that homosexuality is equal to heterosexual behavior.
Marriage licenses will be issued to same-sex couples beginning around April 24.
A lawsuit was filed in December 2005 on behalf of six same-sex couples by Lambda Legal, a gay activist group. LL attorney Ken Upton applauded the ruling.
The Court’s decision is exhaustive, well-thought and supported by the Iowa Constitution. The ruling is legally compelling and consistent with the most basic of Iowa values Â¬- fairness, strong communities and protection for families.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy, both Democrats, released a statement saying:
When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency.
Today, we congratulate the thousands of Iowans who can express their love for each other and have it recognised by our laws.
But Jimmy Barrentine, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist Convention of Iowa, grizzled:
I am opposed to this decision. We are instructed by Scripture, which forthrightly condemns homosexual behavior.