Friday, August 31, 2007

Iowa Judge Rules Gay Marriage Legal

From The Nation via Yahoo:

The Nation -- Iowa will in all likelihood remain the state that opens the process of nominating the Democratic and Republican candidates for president in 2008. As such, it is a "must visit" and "must impress" state for contenders in both parties.

Iowa is now something else, however.

With the decision of a county judge to strike down Iowa's law banning same-sex marriages, the state becomes a front-line battleground in America's ongoing political wrestling match over gay and lesbian rights.

When Polk County Judge Robert Hanson concluded that the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered the county recorder in Des Moines to issue marriage licenses to six gay couples, he did not merely give an unexpected courtroom victory to plaintiffs likes Iowa City's Jen BarbouRoske, who declared Thursday, "This is kind of the American Dream."

Hanson also reshaped the presidential races of both parties.

Democratic and Republicans candidates will not be able to campaign in Iowa -- as all will be doing in coming days and weeks -- without addressing the ruling and the broader issue of same-sex marriage.

Of course, most of the candidates have already done this with varying degrees of specificity. But now they will be thrust into the center of a real-life struggle in a state where they will be spending a great deal of time between now and the day in December or January when Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses are held.

As Judge Hanson's ruling is appealed, and as conservative legislators move to counter it, the same-sex marriage debate will move much closer to the front of the agenda -- not just in Iowa but, because of the caucuses, nationally. more

Which means you can expect certain GOP candidates to start touting a ban on Gay marriages again to mobilize the base behind them. Of the current frontrunners odds are high that Giulliani won't be among those pursuing the politics of division. Additionally both John Mcain and hopeful Ron Paul are both opposed to a constitutional ammendment banning gay marriage. That leaves Huckabee, Thompson, and Romney left on the pro-ammendment side of the column.

This issue is an excellent barometer of the status of the GOP. If a candidate who opposes the ban on gay marriage gets the nod we might well be looking at a more moderate GOP in the future. Lets hope that proves to be the case.