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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Iowa Supreme Court: Same-sex couples can marry

By admin | 04.03.09 | 10:23 am

In a unanimous decision released Friday morning, the Iowa Supreme Court has overturned Iowa’s law limiting marriage rights to opposite-sex couples, clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry across the Hawkeye State beginning later this month.

supreme-courtJustice Mark S. Cady wrote the court’s decision in the landmark case Varnum v. Brien, in which six same-sex couples sued Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien for not issuing them marriage licenses. Polk County Judge Robert Hanson found for the plaintiffs, but he delayed his ruling pending a decision from the Supreme Court.

“On our review, we hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the Supreme Court’s decision said, upholding Hanson’s initial ruling from more than a year ago.

To determine whether Iowa’s marriage law violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution, the court chose to apply the “intermediate scrutiny” test, which is most often applied in gender discrimination cases.

Statute not ‘substantially related’ to ‘important governmental interest’

“To survive intermediate scrutiny, the law must not only further an important governmental interest and be substantially related to that interest,” says the Iowa Supreme Court’s opinion, “but the justification for the classification must be genuine and must not depend on broad generalizations.”

In the end, justices found that Iowa’s definition of marriage did not pass intermediate scrutiny.

Polk County had argued that Iowa’s ban on same-sex marriage served several important governmental interests, but the court disagreed. They rejected the notion that “maintaining traditional marriage” was “important.”

The court agreed with Polk County’s argument that government has an important interest in promoting an “optimal environment to raise children,” but they concluded that Iowa’s definition of marriage was both “under-inclusive” and “over-inclusive” as it relates to that goal, because the statute disqualifies couples who would be good parents, and it allows two people who would be bad parents to marry, so long as they are not of the same sex. The Iowa law is therefore not “substantially related” to the government’s interest in raising children, the court determined.

The court also rejected Polk County’s claim that excluding same-sex couples from marriage serves the important governmental interest in procreation. “Even if possibly true, the link between exclusion of gay and lesbian people from marriage and increased procreation is far too tenuous to withstand heightened scrutiny,” the court held.

The court also rejected several more “important governmental objectives” presented by Polk County, concluding that “the sexual-orientation-based classification under the marriage statute does not substantially further any of the objectives” that the county presented.

Perhaps most interestingly, the court spent time in its decision addressing religious concerns with same-sex marriage, even though Polk County did not make it an issue in its case. Ultimately, they offered this conclusion:

As a result, civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or the religious views of individuals. This approach does not disrespect or denigrate the religious views of many Iowans who may strongly believe in marriage as a dual-gender union, but considers, as we must, only the constitutional rights of all people, as expressed by the promise of equal protection for all. We are not permitted to do less and would damage our constitution immeasurably by trying to do more.

Civil unions likely unconstutional

After deeming Iowa’s civil marriage statute violates individuals’ constitutional rights, the court turned its attention to the appropriate remedy. Justices considered the possibility of a separate classification of civil marriage specifically for same-sex couples — e.g., a “civil union” provision — and rejected it:

A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution. This record, our independent research, and the appropriate equal protection analysis do not suggest the existence of a justification for such a legislative classification that substantially furthers any governmental objective. Consequently, the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.

Rather than throw the issue back to the state legislature to craft a new definition of marriage, the court’s decision requires no additional steps before it is scheduled to take effect, in 21 days.

Leaders from both parties in the Iowa legislature have said they do not expect legislators to act on the ruling before this year’s session ends. Reversing the opinion would likely require a constitutional amendment, which must pass two consecutive general assemblies before it is placed on the ballot as a referendum in a general election year. The soonest that process could be completed is November 2012.

Comments

  • couchand

    Finally.

    As Gronstal and Murphy said, ““When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency. “

  • http://aaglaas.blogspot.com/ aaglaas

    This is a great day for Iowa, and a great day for America. Moral justice, and the promise of freedom and equality for 'all' American citizens has been realized today. Thank you Iowa!!!

  • RegularJoe

    This is indeed a great day! I always believed I fought not just for those rights that narrow-minded, bigoted, delusional, irrational, or hate-filled people support but for the rights of all of us. I'm glad to know the Iowa Supreme Court agrees with me.

    Our Liberties We Prize And Our Rights We Will Maintain!

  • couchand

    Finally.

    As Gronstal and Murphy said, ““When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency. “

  • http://aaglaas.blogspot.com/ aaglaas

    This is a great day for Iowa, and a great day for America. Moral justice, and the promise of freedom and equality for 'all' American citizens has been realized today. Thank you Iowa!!!

  • RegularJoe

    This is indeed a great day! I always believed I fought not just for those rights that narrow-minded, bigoted, delusional, irrational, or hate-filled people support but for the rights of all of us. I'm glad to know the Iowa Supreme Court agrees with me.

    Our Liberties We Prize And Our Rights We Will Maintain!

  • couchand

    Finally.

    As Gronstal and Murphy said, ““When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long. It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency. “

  • http://aaglaas.blogspot.com/ aaglaas

    This is a great day for Iowa, and a great day for America. Moral justice, and the promise of freedom and equality for 'all' American citizens has been realized today. Thank you Iowa!!!

  • RegularJoe

    This is indeed a great day! I always believed I fought not just for those rights that narrow-minded, bigoted, delusional, irrational, or hate-filled people support but for the rights of all of us. I'm glad to know the Iowa Supreme Court agrees with me.

    Our Liberties We Prize And Our Rights We Will Maintain!

  • http://goddessgifts.info/ Adult Toys Store

    Same-sex marriage is a civil rights, political, social, moral, and religious issue in many nations. The conflict arises over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into marriage, be required to use a different status or not have any such rights. A related issue is whether the term “marriage” should be applied.

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