Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iowa district court declares same-sex marriage ban legislation unconstitutional

Just as many of us are getting to impediments to marriage in our syllabus this semester (and many a candidate is getting to Iowa for votes), a Polk county Iowa district court judge has ruled that Iowa's statute prohibiting same-sex marriage violates due process and equal protection, having no rational relationship to a legitimate government objective.  The 62-page decision on a motion for summary judgment has many advantages as a pedagogical tool for examining the subject of same-sex marriage. First, the court addresses the admissibility of testimony of many experts, demonstrating the underlying empirical assertions that are advanced in the argument.  Second, the trial court format of separately numbered findings of fact and conclusions of law makes it easy to pinpoint specific issues for discussion. 

Alexander Rhoads, of Babich, Goldman, Cashatt & Renzo, P.C., who edits the Iowa Family Law Blog and alerted us to the story notes that "An appeal is expected.  Under Iowa's appellate rules, the defendant, the Polk County Recorder (who issues marriage licenses under Iowa law) has a right of direct appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court, which may retain the case or refer it to Iowa's only other appellate court, the Iowa Court of Appeals."  According to the Chicago Tribune, the county immediately filed a motion for a stay from the trial judge, which is likely to be heard next week.
Varnum v. Brien (August 30, 2007)
Decision available online (last visited August 30, 2007 bgf)

Marriage (impediments) | Permalink

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