Iowa’s Supreme Court has lifted the ten year ban on same-sex marriage, claiming that the ban violated equal rights protections for LGBT people.
“Thanks to today’s decision, Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing all of our citizens’ equal rights,” a statement made by the leaders of the legislature read.
“The court has ruled today that when two Iowans promise to share their lives together, state law will respect that commitment, regardless of whether the couple is gay or straight. When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long.”
The controversial ruling cannot be appealed, and the opposition’s only hope to overturn Friday’s decision is to amend the state’s constitution. However that would eventually require a public vote, which would not yield results until 2012 at the earliest.
A 2008 poll held in Iowa shows that public opinion is a different matter, as most Iowans believe that marriage involves one man and one woman.
Surprisingly, the poll also showed that a majority of Iowa adults supported civil unions that would grant benefits to gay couples similar to those offered to married heterosexuals.
Meanwhile, in Vermont, Republican Governor Jim Douglas has vetoed a new state law that would allow same-sex couples to get married in that state.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights group aimed at ensuring LGBT equality in the US, has strongly opposed the veto.
“This move by Governor Douglas denies basic human rights to lesbian and gay couples who live in the State of Vermont,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the HRC.
Douglas claims that the legislation does not provide any more rights than under civil unions. The legislation was passed last week by a 94-52 vote.
The veto can be overturned by the Senate, which is set to convene today, but this will require at least 100 votes.
“We ask all fair-minded residents of Vermont to call their legislators immediately and urge them to stand up for equality by overriding Governor Douglas’ veto. It is our hope that the Vermont legislature will override this veto and ensure that all loving and committed couples are afforded the basic right to marry,” said Solmonese.