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April 3rd, 2009

Gay Marriage: Legal in Iowa

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Written by: Craig Robinson

supreme-court1The Iowa Supreme Court just ruled on Varnum vs. Brien this morning. The Court agreed with Judge Robert Hanson’s earlier decision that struck down Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act. You can read the decision here. (Adobe PDF, 306K)

Gay marriage is now legal in Iowa.

What makes Iowa unique is that the state does not require residency to get married. Iowa is now the first state to allow gay marriage that doesn’t have a residency requirement. Iowa law now allows gay people from all around the country to come to Iowa and be legally married, and then return to their own states.

This creates an interesting predicament for their employers and their state governments. Whose law applies? Iowa’s or their own? We have already seen a situation like this play out in Iowa when a lesbian couple sought and was granted a divorce in Iowa, after being legally married elsewhere.

The earliest the Supreme Court’s decision could be overturned is November of 2012. To reverse the court’s decision, Iowans would have to pass a constitutional amendment. In Iowa, that means both the House and Senate have to pass the amendment in two consecutive general assemblies by a simple majority. The amendment then goes on the ballot in the next general election, where it also needs a simple majority to pass.

Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob Vander Plaats said, “Like hundreds of thousands of Iowans, I respect the rule of law but I am extremely disappointed by the court’s ruling. The Defense of Marriage Act had strong bipartisan support when it was introduced and debated in our legislature. That bipartisan support for traditional marriage between one man and one woman reflected the will of the people then – and reflects the will of the people now. On an issue of this monumental importance to the very foundation of our society, I believe a vote of the people is necessary. I hope the General Assembly will take the required steps to give Iowans a voice is this process on the most basic of issues – and that Governor Culver will take a leadership role to let all Iowans express their opinion.” Vander Plaats made his comments from the Supreme Court building this morning.

State Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley said, “The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels. I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state. Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a Constitutional Amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people.”

The Iowa Republican will have more on the Supreme Court’s decision throughout the day.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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