Friday, August 31, 2007

Interesting Days

Little did I know while I was at the Polk County Courthouse doing the tasks that I've done for years...the really clerical aspects of my profession...that actual news was breaking out in the venerable Polk County Courthouse.

Polk County Judge Robert Hanson struck down Iowa's prohibition on same-sex marriage Thursday.

In his 63-page decision, Hanson wrote that the statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage "violates Plaintiff's due process and equal protection rights for the aforementioned reasons including, but not limited to, the absence of a rational relationship to the achievement of any legitimate governmental interest." Therefore the law is "unconstitutional and invalid."

The case was filed by civil rights group Lambda Legal on behalf of six same-sex couples and their families. Each couple was denied a marriage license from Polk County officials on the grounds that they did not meet the gender requirements according to Iowa law.

There was a lot of reason to think the judge in this case would rule for the state, most courts have ruled for the state -- not all, but most. It is a huge victory. I'm not optimistic about the chances in the State Supreme Court. Iowa's Supreme Court is not exactly the most liberal court in the country (to be fair it is not the most conservative by a long-shoe either).

But for today, it is a huge victory.

And a far more relevant one for national politics. A stay will be sought (and likely obtained) and it is highly unlikely our State Supreme Court will reach a decision before the Presidential Caucuses.

The "culture wars" in the GOP just got turned up another notch -- and they are always big in the GOP contests in the Iowa Caucuses.

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