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This is the state motto of Iowa. It's printed on the banners held by the eagles on our state flag and seal.

I don't usually read paper newspapers; my medium of choice is the internet. Sometimes, however, while waiting for the copy machine or whatever, I grab one that is lying around the office and peruse it. I glanced at some headlines, and skimmed through to the opinion page. I learned something new. There's an Iowa Supreme Court case being heard to determine whether it is constitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The first article I read I found online so I could share it. Read the whole thing at the Press-Citizen site. I've only put the first couple of paragraphs here.

Same license, different rights by Robin Butler of Iowa City
In 2003, I got married in Canada on my 15th anniversary. A year later, my sister got married in Canada on her sixth anniversary. We both went to Toronto City Hall for our marriage licenses. We paid the same fees. We filled out the same forms. We got the same license. With one difference. I got married in Canada because it is illegal for me to marry in my own country. My sister got married in Canada because her husband hails from there, and that was their marriage location of choice.

When I returned to the United States, I was greeted with the Iowa Legislature trying to change our state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. My sister returned to more than 1,100 federal and 450 state laws granting her rights and responsibilities of marriage. Same marriage license; different rights. My sister had fun planning a reception. I planned a reception in the midst of fighting a newspaper to print my marriage announcement, lobbying legislators, giving media interviews, receiving hate mail and being threatened that my state would further make me a second-class citizen. Same marriage license; different rights.
There are a couple other posts with more details about the case and one of the plaintiff couples and their daughters who are involved in Varnum v. Brien:
Local woman feels 'very positive' after hearing
Life goes on for same-sex couple as case proceeds

Another good piece about discriminatory legislation and the duty of the courts to determine constitutionality was published late last month:
Tyranny of the majority

Isn't it strange how these cases have started to become so much a part of the background noise that I didn't even realize one was happening in my own state? Maybe it was just drowned out by Prop 8 backlash. Either way, I wanted to put this up in case others didn't know about it. I can only hope that the justices see that separate is not equal and that denial of rights to one couple that are granted to another is not only morally wrong, but unconstitutional as well.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
yellow_p
Dec. 12th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
California über alles, baby!
Indeed I was a bit perplexed about the prominence of Prop. 8 stories featured on non-CA-based news outlets. There were a number of similar measures being decided upon, some (or at least one) of which upheld marriage equality.

I think it probably also has to do with some states relegating gay issues to the background, in one of those "well that happens in other places BUT NOT HERE" type of dysfunctions.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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