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Iowa becomes 9th state with ‘gay marriage’ suit

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–Iowa became the ninth state involved in a “gay marriage” lawsuit Dec. 13 when the homosexual organization Lambda Legal filed a suit on behalf of six same-sex couples.

The suit, filed in Iowa District Court for Polk County, asks the state court to strike down Iowa’s defense of marriage act (DOMA), which was passed by the legislature in the 1990s to prevent the legalization of “gay marriage.”

Conservatives immediately called for adoption of a state constitutional marriage amendment, which would trump any court ruling and seal the definition of marriage in Iowa’s constitution. A marriage amendment passed the Iowa House in March, 54-44, but hasn’t received a vote in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans are split evenly, 25-25, and have co-majority leaders. The Republican co-majority favors the amendment, the Democrat co-majority opposes it.

The amending process in Iowa is lengthy and requires passage by two consecutive sessions before it is put before voters. Nineteen states have adopted marriage amendments, and four more are scheduled to vote on them in 2006.

Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, said the earliest that Iowans could vote on an amendment is 2007.

“Now that there is a new urgency, there will be a lot of pressure on the Democrat majority leader to allow a vote,” Hurley told Baptist Press.

Unless the amendment passes the Senate, Hurley said, “gay marriage … absolutely will be an issue” in the 2006 election.

A poll released in October 2003 conducted for The Des Moines Register showed Iowans opposing “gay marriage” legalization by a margin of 65-23 percent.

In addition to Iowa, homosexual activists have filed “gay marriage” lawsuits in eight other states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Washington. Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “same-sex marriage.”

The lawsuits typically have been filed in states that have left-leaning state courts and that have constitutions that are difficult to amend.

Iowa’s Supreme Court — which eventually would get the case — has sided with homosexual activists before. In June the court let stand a “lesbian divorce” over the objections of conservatives. The case began when two women who had received a Vermont civil union asked an Iowa judge to dissolve their relationship. He did, and conservative groups sued, arguing that since Iowa does not recognize civil unions, it also should not recognize the dissolution of one. But the court let the “divorce” stand, saying the conservative groups had no legal standing.

Hurley said conservatives are “concerned” about the “gay marriage” lawsuit in light of the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling.

The court “basically left the door open for this sort of further mischief,” he said.

Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal, said the lawsuit is “about fairness and equality.”

“Since marriage is the way the government provides protection, support and respect for families, it is only fair that these couples be able to marry,” she said in a statement.

But Hurley disagreed.

“Laws are designed to follow order in a culture,” he said. “They’re designed to support the good and punish the bad. To say that equality includes legalizing perversion would fly in the face of every criminal statute ever written in any culture. It’s a ludicrous argument.

“One man, one woman marriage was set up by God Himself, and our laws simply acknowledge that. It would be the height of human arrogance for humankind to try to rewrite God’s design for marriage.”

While conservatives in Iowa and elsewhere are pushing for adoption of state marriage amendments, pro-family groups on the national level are promoting a federal marriage amendment. While state amendments protect against state court rulings, they can be overturned in federal court. In May a federal judge struck down Nebraska’s marriage amendment.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust