Iowa reaction on gay marriage ruling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa reaction on gay marriage ruling

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -  In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. 

The court's ruling means 14 states in the South and Midwest will have to stop enforcing bans on same-sex marriage.

Here is how Iowans are reacting:

Iowa Christian conservative Bob Vander Plaats, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, says the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion creates a constitutional crisis.

Vander Plaats says the Constitution "was trampled on by activist judges who went way outside of their scope of jurisdiction and defied the laws of nature and nature's God and it's going to have severe ripple effects throughout this country."

He says he's more optimistic about the institution of marriage today than ever before because he believes the court's decision will serve as a wakeup call for the church. He says the country knows right from wrong and "what this court did today was exceptionally wrong and they know that marriage simply means the institution of one man and one woman."

He says it's a matter of time before "we right the ship."

Vander Plaats says, "Progressives may believe they won the day today but I really believe when we have a full-spectrum conservative who embraces the Constitution versus tramples on the Constitution, who upholds the laws of nature and natures God versus believing that he is God, I believe when we have that full-spectrum conservative he will be elected president."


Drake University constitutional law professor Mark Kende says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision is broad in finding same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and due process rights of citizens.

Kende says Friday the majority ruling of the court in the 5-4 decision "emphasizes the strength with which the majority wants to send the signal that this is to be taken very seriously and has some historic significance."

Kende says the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, similar to the national high court's, was a catalyst for the nation "and opened the door to the idea that this could be mainstream America."

He says the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion vindicates the Iowa court's foresight. The unanimous ruling by the seven-member Iowa court in 2009 made Iowa the third state to legalize same-sex marriage. Three justices were voted off the bench the next year after gay marriage opponents spent millions of dollars on a campaign to defeat them in a judicial retention vote.

Kende says, "Regardless of the political consequences they are supposed to decide the law. I hope they do feel a sense of vindication."

Iowa's four Catholic bishops say they are saddened by a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country.

In a statement released Friday soon after the court issued its decision, the bishops expressed sadness and noted, "To make something legal does not mean that it is true or good. Take, for example, the ruling that legalized abortion."

The bishops say they will lead people to live under the gospels and quoted the passage: "One man and one woman who freely give themselves to each other in a permanent and exclusive partnership, to be helpmates for each other, and to be open to conceiving and bringing up children."

The statement was signed by the archbishop of Dubuque and the bishops of Davenport, Des Moines and Sioux City.


Former Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Baker says he's not surprised the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed same-sex marriage on constitutional equal protection grounds.

Baker was among the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices to rule unanimously in 2009 that an Iowa law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He lost his job along with Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justice Michael Streit the following year when they failed to get enough votes in a judicial retention election. It was the result of an effort to defeat them by gay marriage opponents who spent millions of dollars on advertising.

The Iowa court's decision made Iowa only the third state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Baker says the decision raised awareness of the issue because Iowa, not viewed as a strong liberal state, found gay marriage to be constitutionally guaranteed.

He says with the change in public opinion -- 37 states have declared same-sex marriage legal -- the court has ratified what was eventually going to happen anyway.

Attorney General Tom Miller: “Today, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court wrote a powerful decision that ensures equality, dignity and protection under the law for same-sex couples across the country. These are rights that same-sex couples in Iowa have enjoyed since 2009 because of the Iowa Supreme Court's thoughtful and courageous Varnum decision. But even those couples and their families faced legal uncertainties if they traveled or moved to other states. Now it is clear throughout the land that same-sex couples have constitutionally-guaranteed equal access to the institution of marriage.”

ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Jeremy Rosen: "This is a momentous win for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all, love. We can celebrate that ours is a country that keeps its promise of the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and justice for all.Yet there remains much more work to be done. We will continue to fight for an Iowa and a country in which LGBTQ people can live openly and identities, relationships, and families are respected, and where there is fair treatment on the job and in schools, housing, public places, and health care."

Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann: “The recent Supreme Court decisions have only proven once again that we must redouble our effort to elect a Republican to the White House in 2016 -- one who will nominate judges who respect the different roles of our three branches."

Donna Red Wing, One Iowa Executive Director: "This is an historic marriage equality case. It is an enormous victory and a joyous day for loving, married couples and their families across this nation. Today, the Supreme Court recognized the validity of our families by allowing them to fully share in the freedom to marry. For thousands of gay and lesbian couples, this means that they can better protect one another and their children because they will finally be included in the federal and state safety nets of marriage, with more than 1,100 federal benefits from which they were previously excluded. It means that these loving couples are now accorded the same rights and responsibilities as any other.  We celebrate the fact that same-gender couples can now legally marry across the United States. Our nation's highest court stood on the right side of history today, demonstrating why our courts matter."

Iowa GOP Co-Chair Cody Hoefert: “We believe, and still believe, that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court's decision changed law by fiat and unfortunately continued this Court's history of legislating from the bench."

Dr. Andy McGuire, Iowa Democratic Party Chair: “This is an incredible day for equality, for justice, and for our loving families all across Iowa and the entire country. Iowa was one of the first states to recognize marriage equality, and I'm thrilled that now same-sex couples in all 50 states will be able to celebrate their love and receive their deserved equal rights and protections under the law. While the 2016 GOP field continues to want to move us backwards, the Supreme Court confirmed what Iowans already knew: we are a more inclusive, stronger and better place when we side with equality over discrimination.“

In a video, Republican Congressman Steve King said, "If gay marriage is to be the policy of this land, that needs to be a decision made by the people through their elected representatives."  King later said, "The Supreme Court has a terrible record in trying to transform our society and put an end to issues."  King ends his video with this:  "Now there's no point in having civil marriage in this country whatsoever.  So I'm calling upon the states - just abolish civil marriage.  Let's go back to holy matrimony the way it began. Do that alone.  And by the way I want to send a message to the Supreme Court... a good strong message.  And in the next few days or weeks I'll be introducing legislation to do just that."


The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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