The Iowa motto, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain,” was noted by Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady in his unanimous opinion for the Court striking down Iowa’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Today, for the first time ever in this country, a state’s highest court spoke strongly and with one voice in support of marriage equality.Read the rest at the link above.
Moreover, the opinion subtly implies that this is as it should be and goes on the offense against cries of judicial activism:
As other Iowans have done in the past when faced with the enforcement of a law that prohibits them from engaging in an activity or achieving a status enjoyed by other Iowans, the twelve plaintiffs turned to the courts to challenge the statute.
Slip op., at 8. The Court smartly goes on to fully, simply and clearly explain exactly why this decision is nothing extraordinary:
The legislature, in carrying out its constitutional role to make public policy decisions, enacted a law that effectively excludes gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage. The executive branch of government, in carrying out its role to execute the law, enforced this statute through a county official who refused to issue marriage licenses to six same-sex couples. These Iowans, believing that the law is inconsistent with certain constitutional mandates, exercised their constitutional right to petition the courts for redress of their grievance. This court, consistent with its role to interpret the law and resolve disputes, now has the responsibility to determine if the law enacted by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch violates the Iowa Constitution.
I am still pinching myself over this development. I mean, Iowa! This will take some time to sink in, to be sure.
And so it goes.