Iowa gay marriage debate has national backdrop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa gay marriage debate has national backdrop


IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- California's Supreme Court will hear three cases challenging the state's new ban on gay marriage. California was one of three states that passed a gay marriage ban in the past election. Meanwhile, Connecticut's Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing same-sex marriages last week. That's fueling more debate as Iowa's own gay marriage ban faces a State Supreme Court hearing in less than three weeks.

The landmark case will decide the fate of same-sex marriages in Iowa. The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 9, to determine if same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

Jen and Dawn Barbouroske are two of the plaintiffs in the case and say they've been waiting 18 years to enjoy the same rights of other married couples.

"I love Dawn, I'm committed to her in my heart, and that's never going to change," Jen said. "And really, that's what a marriage should be based on."

The Barbouroskes say it's not their goal to change the religious definition of marriage, just the civil definition.

"We all grow up and we look forward to finding that person you love, and being able to spend your lives together," Dawn Barbouroske said. "And Jen and I are doing that but want and deserve the legal rights of doing that."

They were met with applause in Iowa City Wednesday night at one of several discussions hosted by the civil rights group One Iowa.

"This past election was disappointing to hear that more states banned," Dawn said.

It's their hope that the state they live in won't go the same direction.

Attorney Chamilla Taylor says legalizing same sex marriages would allow gay couples to have a legal relationship with their children.

"And if ever that child should need medical attention or you need to enroll your child in school, then everyone will assume you're a parent, and you'll be able to do that," Taylor said.

Taylor says it could take the Iowa Supreme Court up to six months to return a decision on the case.

The Polk County prosecutor argues overturning Iowa's ban would take law making out of legislator's hands. Meanwhile, the Iowa Family Policy center is one group calling for an amendment to define marriage between a man and woman. But the earliest that could be put to a state-wide vote is 2011.

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