The Iowa State Judicial Branch has a motto:
Administering justice under the law equally to all persons. (emphasis mine)
Now, if I recall correctly, laws in the USA, and in its many states and local governments are ordinarily created by a body of legislature, a council of some sort - town, village and city councils, county legislatures, state assemblies and senates, and finally, the US Congress itself.
And, our system of government has the Executive Branch (vested in Mayors, County Executives, Governors, and Presidents) to enforce and support the law, generally providing for the administration of the laws created by the Legislative Branch.
Lastly, the Judicial Branch offers interpretation of the law, against the properly passed laws, statues, and ordinances of the community, state(s), and the nation, and against precedents set by previous court cases. Determination of a law’s constitutionality, it seems - is relegated to the higher courts (generally, state and federal Supreme Courts).
One would not expect to have a ruling of a decade-old law declared unconstitutional by a low-level county or state district court; any judge on the bench of such a court must no doubt be courting some degree of notoriety and publicity for himself, or a radical judge with an activist agenda.
Or maybe I’m just plain wrong, and minor county judges really can toss out state legislation on its collective ears - and so much for representative democracy, wherein “we the people” selected those legislatures which passed the laws we want enacted (in theory).
And so, the (dubiously) “Honorable” Robert B. Hanson, a judge for Iowa’s Polk County (IA District 5C) decided that Iowa’s marriage law was unconstitutional, and capriciously invalidated the will of the people with a mere tap of his gavel - and there isn’t much that can be done about it other than to appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, which could bump it back to the Iowa Court of Appeals, or hear the case, or reject the appeal.
Let’s take a look at the law in question, and see for ourselves if there is any ambiguity in the words of the law, or anything in the language that suggests that marriage in the state of Iowa has a provision of licensing the weddings of non-heterosexual marriages:
Iowa Code 595.2, Subsections 1 - 2
1. Only a marriage between a male and a female is valid.
2. Additionally, a marriage between a male and a female is valid only if each is eighteen years of age or older. However, if either or both of the parties have not attained that age, the marriage may be valid under the circumstances prescribed in this section.
(info/link courtesy of 2ndDivisionVet over on the Freeper boards)
And just in case some nice gay couple was of a mind to try and sneak in through Massachusetts or New Jersey (MA, and I believe NJ condones same-sex marriage)… the Iowa Code says those are invalid (in Iowa) as well:
595.20 Foreign marriages–validity.
A marriage which is solemnized in any other state, territory, country, or any foreign jurisdiction which is valid in that state, territory, country, or other foreign jurisdiction, is valid in this state if the parties meet the requirements for validity pursuant to section 595.2, subsection 1, and if the marriage would not otherwise be declared void.
Well! That sounds pretty clear and unequivocal to me. But apparently not to a leftist judge in Polk County, Iowa.
So, who is this Judge Hanson, and what exactly was his ruling? I’d say he is only the latest in a raft of ultra-leftist judges who enjoy forging socially liberal policy from the bench.
A liberal, say I? Most likely, let’s look at his “bench cred” (from the Iowa Judicial Branch official website) :
District Court Judge, Robert B. Hanson: 5C
Judge Hanson, West Des Moines, was appointed to the bench in 2003. He received his undergraduate education from Stanford University in 1978. He went to the University of Iowa and earned his law degree in 1981. He clerked for the Iowa Supreme Court and practiced law privately prior to his appointment. He is a member of the Polk County, Iowa State and American Bar Associations. He is married with two children.
Funny thing, that. He’s a Stanford grad, and given Stanford’s reputation for tenuring ultra-leftist professors… it wouldn’t at all be surprising that he would be a product of their training.
“Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage … by reason of the fact that both person comprising such a couple are of the same sex,”
It would seem that the ultra-liberal fringe really doesn’t give a flip about what the majority of people have decided should be law - indeed for them, democracy is only fit for the liberal elites to participate in.
Unless of course, a (state) constitutional amendment is passed to explicitly limit marriage to a heterosexual pair - man and woman.
According to House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, this judge’s ruling underscores the necessity of (such) a state constitutional amendment:
“I can’t believe this is happening in Iowa,” he said. “I guarantee you there will be a vote on this issue come January,” when the Legislature convenes.
(from the Detroit Free Press coverage of this item: Freep.com)
Although, with the Republicans a minority in the Iowa Legislature, *and if Chicago exerts anything near considerable drift to the left that New York City has over decisions made in Albany defenders of the family and traditional marriage may have an uphill battle.
* Edit: Es tut mir sehr großer Leit… I made a major geography goof as the first commenter points out… Chicago ain’t anywhere near Iowa. Don’t ask me why I transposed Iowa’s capital with Illinois, I should’ve known better.