Did Iowa judges misuse the equal protection clause to determine their ruling on gay marriage?

As I’m sure some of you are aware, a couple months ago the Iowa supreme court legalized gay marriage in their state by overturning the 170 year old definition of marriage deeming it as unconstitutional under the equal protection clause off their state constitution. My question is, was this the framers of the…

First off it was a 1998 law. Second it was a court opinion, nothing was legalized. The court has no legislative power to legalize. Again, their opinion, nothing more.


You’re confusing equal rights analysis with fundamental rights analysis. That’s not uncommon. Even the US Supreme Court occasionally confuses the two, as most of the time the analysis is identical and many of the tests involved are the same. However, here the distinction is important. There is no fundamental right to marry, hence no violation of fundamental rights for denial of marriage to one particular group. (Note that marital relations are a fundamental right, but that’s no longer considered the same thing, really that’s more of a consenting people to live and have sex in any manner they want, note that children and animals cannot so consent, hence that’s illegal.)

However there is a right for like individuals to be treated in a like manner. Since the government must stay out of people’s bedrooms and reproductive decisions (that is fundamental rights analysis which has been developed through a number of Supreme Court cases over the last century), there is no difference between gay marriages and straight marriages that is relevant to the government. Hence the two are similarly situated and to differentiate them is discrimination. Specifically, it is discrimination of the right to enter into a type of contractual relationship based on the relative genders of the parties, which is illegal.

The fact that it’s been that way for a long time is no argument at all, otherwise we’d never have Brown v. Board of Ed, Loving v. Virginia, or really most of the major decisions in the history of the Supreme Court. The point is that the definition used in the state is impermissible. They may choose not to recognize any marriages at all and leave it entirely up to religions and society at large to recognize, or they can recognize gay and straight partners equally, which is what they are doing.

I haven’t read the case and I have not seen the Iowa constitution, which is required to answer this question.

I can only assume there was something in the Iowa constitution declaring homosexuals to be a potected class. This would have to occur before the caselaw regarding marriage could be used to get to the EP clause to analogize with gay marriage. Those who believe the Loving case is analogous are missing a vital ingredient, which is that the US Constitution has never been amended to create a special class deserving of protection with homosexuals.

The “Equal Protection Clause” and the Fourteenth Amendment applies to Constitutional “laws”, or enumeration of Constitutional rights. Marriage is not Constitutionally defined, and thus not a Constitutional right. The Fourteenth Amendment should have no bearing on how the state decides to interpret “marriage”. The Tenth Amendment is being overlooked here.

I think that is debatable. In the Lovey case the supreme court came to a different decision although in that case the issue was race, it can be argued to apply in the case of same sex marriages.The court clearly stated that marriage is a basic civil right.

As to your other arguments- Currently hetro-adults can not marry children, have multiple marriages and as far as I know the constitution does not cover animals. These are silly arguments and appeal to fear.

Marriage to me is a federal issue because of the many rights linked to marriage federally- immigration, taxes, divorce, inheritance, custody battles etc.. Two consenting adults should be able to marry if they want to. period. My own personal preference is irrelevant and so are those of the majority of Americans. I wish the gay community luck on the upcoming case and support them in their struggle for equality.

Lovie Case:

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision, dismissing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s argument that a law forbidding both white and black persons from marrying persons of another race, and providing identical penalties to white and black violators, could not be construed as racially discriminatory. The court ruled that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In its decision, the court wrote:

“ Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.

The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

There were plenty of right being denied to homosexuals that were being granted to man & woman marriages.

Marriage benefits? Tax benefits?

I could be wrong. I have limited knowledge on marriage benefits, being homosexual myself.

If you are such a Christian, why do you hate other people who haven’t done anything to you?

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