Big congratulations to Iowa (state of my beloved alma mater and its terrible web page) for taking a major step for equality on Friday with the State Supreme Court decision that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples violates equal protection under the law.
This has been covered in more depth by better-informed correspondents elsewhere, but I wanted to share a couple of things:
1. That this happened smack in the middle of the Midwest is wonderful, and makes me hope for a positive effect in neighboring states (*coughMinnesotacough*).
2. The way things work in Iowa, this cannot be easily dumped in the next election cycle by a public proposition for a constitutional amendment. Amending the Iowa constitution is much more difficult than California, where Prop. 8 needed only a simple majority to pass.
3. More specifically, the SOONEST an amendment could be voted on by the public would be 2012, and that presupposes that the current state legislature act on it now. Which isn't going to happen, because Democratic Majority Leader Mike Gronstal will not play ball. This is great:
So it looks like this will stand for a while. Hotbed of liberals, that Iowa.
Meanwhile, in Vermont, the state legislature is in the process of passing marriage rights for same-sex couples, and the Republican governor has vetoed it, because it would be a "distraction" from more important issues in this time of economic trouble. Zuh? That veto may be overridden tomorrow, but the vote looks pretty tight.
Update! They did it! Well met, Vermont! VT is now the first state to achieve marriage equality legislatively. So, no talk about activist judges overturning the will of the people here...