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December 8, 2008


According to USA Today, the Iowa Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments tomorrow in a closely watched gay marriage case. Legal experts say that the outcome of this case could have ramifications throughout the nation and would be far more difficult to challenge at the ballot box.

The lawsuit, Varnum v. Brien, was filed by six same-sex couples and could make Iowa the first state in the Midwest to legalize gay marriage. And, in Iowa, state laws governing the procedure for amending the Iowa constitution requires a majority approval of the Iowa House and Senate during two consecutive legislative sessions and then it would also have to be approved by a majority of voters in the next general election.

In 1998, the state legislators approved the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act. However, last year, Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson declared the ban unconstitutional.

Onwuachi-Willig, who signed a court brief supporting gay-marriage rights, said, "This is the heartland of America — a place where family values are revered. It would be an incredibly strong signal for the Iowa Supreme Court to find that same-sex marriages are legal."

Kate Varnum said, "I think Iowa has been ahead of the curve on civil rights. I'm proud to live here. I think Iowans are very fair minded."