Iowa is now the poster child for why it is important to have constitutional amendments that decree that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
It has been my contention for some time that each state needs to have in place a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. Without such an amendment, a state’s activist Supreme Court can overturn a law adopted by the legislature, declaring it to be unconstitutional. That is what happened in Iowa and Massachusetts. In passing Proposition 8 in referendum last November, voters reversed a similar move by the California Supreme Court the previous June.
The April 3 decision propelled Iowa to the forefront of our nation’s same-sex “marriage” debate when the state’s highest court ruled the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Iowa joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont in permitting marriages between homosexual and lesbian couples.
Once again, it was the judiciary branch of state government rending the nation’s moral fabric, bent on rewriting our country’s social construct.
With no residency requirements, the court’s opinion means at the end of April when the order goes into effect, same-sex couples will be free to travel from other states to exchange “vows” in the Iowa Heartland.
This ruling turns Iowa into a destination for same-sex “marriages.” No doubt there are weekend travel packages already being planned. Iowa will soon be the Las Vegas of same-sex “marriage” for America. And you know those folks won’t be resettling in the Hawkeye State, but will be heading back home-perhaps to your state.
And given there is no provision for citizen-initiated constitutional referendums in Iowa, it will take at least two years for proponents of traditional marriage-if successful-to get a ban on same-sex “marriage” in the state’s constitution.
The Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal promised he would block any legislation codifying a ban on same-sex “marriage” in the state’s constitution, saying he doesn’t see anything wrong with a “bunch of people who merely want to profess their love for each other.”
The only way to stop another state’s judges from trumping the people’s elected representatives is to pass an amendment to that state’s constitution. Over 20 states have already done this and are at least protected from the overreach of their state’s Supreme Court.
The Iowa Supreme Court couldn’t have ruled that an amendment to the constitution is “unconstitutional.” If they had done that, then a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” would be imperiled. If the California Supreme Court does this in the case they are currently considering, then we’d have to say that our entire system of government is coming to a tragic end.
Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.