Sean Gilligan's Blog


Sensibility in River City: Iowa Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

Today's New York Times (Iowa Court Says Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional) reports that the Iowa Supreme Court has overturned a 1998 law banning gay marriage.
“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision. And later in the ruling, they said: “Equal protection under the Iowa Constitution is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike. Since territorial times, Iowa has given meaning to this constitutional provision, striking blows to slavery and segregation, and recognizing women’s rights. The court found the issue of same-sex marriage comes to it with the same importance as the landmark cases of the past.”

The Founding Fathers of the United States wisely preferred a constitutional republic to ("pure") democracy. The Bear Flag proclaims that California is a republic.

The California Supreme Court will soon decide whether 41% of eligible voters* can deny a minority group a fundamental right. Three cases challenging Proposition 8 were heard together on March 5th and a decision will be announced soon. The decision will likely hinge on legal technicalities like the difference between an "amendment" to the California Constitution and a "revision" or the definition of "inalienable". Whatever one's position on the issue of "gay marriage", I hope we all can agree that it is fundamentally wrong to allow less than 41% of the population to dictate which rights a minority group may have.

* Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote and 79% turnout.


  • I'm pleased you've taken this position, Sean, and proud to be your friend.

    By Anonymous Frances Cherman, at 12:27 PM  

  • Thanks, Frances. Of course, this is more of a 'held' position than a 'taken' one.

    What motivated me to blog is the prevalence of the view that a simple majority vote should decide such issues.

    By Blogger sean, at 12:54 PM  

  • Good point, Sean. The constitution guarantees all of us the right to the "pursuit of happiness" and what is marriage but that. Dana Bagshaw

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 AM  

  • Would you prefer the tyranny of the majority? Would it yield a different result? I wonder.

    By Blogger ThinWithin, at 5:07 AM  

  • @ThinWithin My point is that Proposition 8 demonstrates the tyranny of the majority and that I hope the CA or US Constitution will overturn that tyranny.

    By Blogger sean, at 12:30 PM  

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