Ooh SNAP! Iowa Supreme Court gets SASSY!
We begin with the County's argument that the goal of the same-sex marriage ban is to ensure children will be raised only in the optimal milieu. In pursuit of this objective, the statutory exclusion of gay and lesbian people is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive. The civil marriage statute is under-inclusive because it does not exclude from marriage other groups of parents--such as child abusers, sexual predators, parents neglecting to provide child support, and violent felons--that are undeniably less than optimal parents. Such under-inclusion tends to demonstrate that the sexual-orientation-based classification is grounded in prejudice or "overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences" of gay and lesbian people, rather than having a substantial relationship to some important objective. See Virginia, 518 U.S. at 533, 116 S. Ct. at 2275, 135 L. Ed. 2d at 751 (rejecting use of overbroad generalizations to classify). If the marriage statute was truly focused on optimal parenting, many classifications of people would be excluded, not merely gay and lesbian people.What about amending the Iowa constitution to ban gay marriage? It would take a long time:
I heard on Iowa Public Radio this morning that legislative leaders say there is no time to consider an amendment on marriage this year. The legislative session is scheduled to end within a couple of weeks, and the "funnel" date by which bills had to clear a legislative committee passed nearly a month ago.
The 56-44 Democratic majority in the Iowa House may or may not be solid on this issue, but I believe that the 32-18 Democratic majority in the Iowa Senate will be enough to block any Proposition 8-style constitutional amendment during the 2010 session.
Even if Republicans made electoral gains on this issue and picked up seats in November 2010, they would have to get a constitutional amendment through the 2011-2012 legislature and the 2013-2014 legislature before the amendment could get on the ballot. That would mean Iowans could vote on same-sex marriage rights in November 2013. By that time I believe support for gay marriage will have grown substantially.