Iowa Supreme Court hears gay marriage case - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Supreme Court hears gay marriage case

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowa became the center of national attention as the Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments on the state's ban on same-sex marriage. A group of six Iowa same-sex couples sued the state for denying them marriage licenses.

"This case is about the constitutionality of an Iowa law," said Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Turnis.

In front of a packed courtroom, each attorney had 30 minutes to present their case. For Polk County, talk centered on the definition of marriage.

"There is no ban there is no exclusion against same sex marriage because marriage by definition is between two people of the opposite sex," argued Polk County Attorney Roger Kuhle.

Lambda Legal argued that definition treats same sex couples as second class.

"I'm happily married to a woman I dearly love. If the state told me I could not be married but could have a civil union I'd be disappointed," Lambda Legal attorney Dennis Johnson told the court. "If they told me we could have a civil union but others could marry I'd be very upset."

Soon the judge's questions began examining the argument of what's best for children.

"Could we constitutionally say sex offenders cannot marry?" asked Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel.

"I don't believe so," Kuhle responded. "I think you're then intruding on their fundamental rights."

As the minutes ticked by it became clear an hour was hardly enough to cover an issue that has divided our nation for decades.

"Our marriage laws today are not the same as they were 4,000 years ago," said Justice David Wiggins. "Back then only certain people could get married. As many as 30 years ago you cooldn't' have interracial marriage. Things are just changing."

And in the end both sides parted ways with words of confidence.

"I'm a native Iowan and I could never have been more proud of my state and the people of Iowa," said David Twombley, a plantiff in the case.

We may have to wait up to six months for the Supreme Court to come back with a decision on the case.

Right now, Iowa is one of 41-states with a law or constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Six states -- New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachussetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Oregon -- allow same-sex marriages or civil unions giving same-sex couples the same rights as a married couple. Three states -- New York, New Mexico and Rhode Island -- have no laws one way or another.

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