Friday, April 3, 2009

Justice and law prevails in Iowa

My home state. I always believe there are sensible people there. They are pleasant to their neighbors and fellow citizens. They also have a good sense of justice, separating government from private concerns, and believing in the democratic process. I know some people are not too happy with what just happened there today, but the Supreme Court Justices worded it exactly how I feel.

Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady, who wrote the unanimous decision, at one point invoked the court’s first-ever decision, in 1839, which struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.

Iowa’s gay marriage ban “is unconstitutional, because the county has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage,” Cady wrote in the 69-page opinion that seemed to dismiss the concept of civil unions as an option for gay couples.

“A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Cady wrote.

The ruling also addressed what it called the “religious undercurrent propelling the same-sex marriage debate,” and said judges must remain outside the fray.

Some Iowa religions are strongly opposed to same-sex marriages, the justices noted, while some support the notion.

“Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring that government avoids them,” the opinion says.

The ruling explicitly does not affect “the freedom of a religious organization to define marriage it solemnizes as unions between a man and a woman,” the justices stressed.

You can see the original article at the Des Moines Register. Italicized emphasis is mine.

Civil marriage, the partnership of two people who have decided to create a household together and share in economic as well as emotional and spiritual needs together, is not the same in my opinion as the religious marriage that is sanctioned by many different types of religions. Europe has had couples perform both ceremonies, such as the law in Luxembourg. A religious ceremony cannot happen until the civil ceremony is performed. A religious ceremony does not have to happen either, but the union is a legal state under the law of Luxembourg.

If there's such an uproar about wording, then all of us who got a piece of paper from the government declaring that we were a couple, should have those unions called civil unions, no matter who we are. Then, those churches that want to perform "marriage" ceremonies for their select group of people may. It's all semantics though. What is handled by the government should not be informed upon by religion. Couples recognized as such by the state should not be discriminated against for sex, race, religion, creed or likewise. At one point in time, a black person could not marry a white person. We have deemed that illegal and the Iowa State Supreme Court has also found discriminating against people because they both happen to be men or both women is just as illegal. It makes sense to me.

Once again, the world seems to be getting closer to what I believe it is in my head.

2 comments:

True Blue Texan said...

Well said. I think this day will be the turning point. So much has been said about how this issue is something for the liberal elite on the coasts. To have it spoken about so clearly and eloquently in the heartland of America is simply nothing short of amazing.

By the way, just how the hell do you put a link in a post? I have yet to figure it out. Could you please drop me a line at truebluetx (at) gmail.com and explain. Use simple language and words of as few syllables as possible so my tired old brain can understand. I'm sure it's something relatively simple but I have no idea what.

Thanks!

Aliceson said...

What a day for justice! I agree if people are so wound up about marriage, change the wording and have civil unions for those who choose to go the legal route and marriage for those who wish to go the extra mile for God may do so in their church. I always find it odd that marriage is recognized by the states but performed (for the most part) in churches. What does religion have to do with it?