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April 2nd, 2009

Waiting For The Court’s Decision on Gay Marriage

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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supreme-courtRegardless of how the Iowa Supreme Court rules on Varnum vs. Brien tomorrow morning, the decision will have a lasting impact on whether or not gays and lesbians are entitled to state-sponsored marriage here in Iowa.

If the court upholds Judge Hanson’s ruling, gay marriage will be allowed in Iowa. What makes Iowa unique is that the state does not require residency to get married. Iowa would be the first state that allows gay marriage that doesn’t have a residency requirement.

Under this scenario, people from all around the country could come to Iowa to be legally married and then return to their home state. 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.

If gay marriage is legalized tomorrow, the earliest it could be overturned would be 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.

If the court rejects Hanson’s ruling, Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act (D.O.M.A.) would remain intact, meaning gay marriage would not be legal in Iowa. Under this scenario, the court would be setting a precedent that would strengthen Iowa’s D.O.M.A. law. This would basically require those in favor of gay marriage to pursue a constitutional amendment.

All of this means that the side that loses this case will have a long treacherous road ahead of them. For social conservatives, it would basically require Republicans to remain the majority in the House and Senate. That means picking up seven seats in the House and eight seats in the Senate.

On the other hand, gay rights activists might find it difficult getting the current Democrat majorities in the House and Senate to pass an amendment. Democrats already refused to take up the issue following Judge Hanson’s decision, and legislators have indicated that they are not likely to pass legislation that would counter the Supreme Court’s decision this session.

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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