Iowa High Court Takes Up Gay Marriage Ban

Capital expects large crowds for landmark decision
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 8, 2008 2:15 AM CST
Lori Septer and Kelly Bertelsen, right, wait outside the Polk County vital records office after applying for a marriage license in Des Moines.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – Iowa's Supreme Court begins hearing a same-sex marriage case this week that could give gay activists their first heartland victory, reports the Des Moines Register. The state capital was abuzz with preparations for watch parties, town hall meetings, and court overflow rooms to accommodate the large crowds expected for this high stakes decision that could overturn a decades-old ban on gay marriage.

Gay rights proponents expressed optimism that Iowa's high court would rule in their favor. The state overturned its interracial marriage ban a century before the nation outlawed such bans. Conservatives argue that the legislature or voters, not courts, should decide such matters, and point to California's Proposition 8 shooting down gay marriage. But in Iowa, where the process for amending the state constitution is strenuous and lengthy, such a bill wouldn't reach voters before November 2011.