While a slim majority of Californians disliked last year’s state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage enough to obviate it with Prop 8, other states’ high courts hold it in reverence.
Today, the Iowa Supreme Court cited In re Marriage Cases — 43 Cal.4th 757 to us and 183 P.3d 384 to the justices in Des Moines — eight times in unanimously declaring (.pdf) same-sex marriage legal in that Midwestern state.
Imitation: The sincerest form of flattery (other than having voters not do a ballot-box end run), after the jump.
Six months ago, the Connecticut Supreme Court cited the California ruling 15 times while affirming 4-3 its gay and lesbian citizens’ right to marry.
Both courts’ references represent a nod of respect toward California Chief Justice Ronald George’s 121-page legal tome of May 15, 2008. Citing an out-of-state court on such an emotional issue is the highest form of flattery.
The Iowa court’s 69-page ruling referenced the California court’s holdings on things such as sexual orientation being a suspect class, playing no role in a person’s ability or inability to contribute to society and being an integral aspect of one’s identity.
Some gay-rights groups sent out press statements today, saying the Iowa ruling — Varnum v. Brien, 07-1499 — strengthens their challenge to Prop 8, passed by California voters last year to outlaw same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court is expected to rule on Prop 8 within 60 days.
“Today’s decision from Iowa strongly reinforces that the California Supreme Court must not permit a simple majority of voters to jettison that defining hallmark of our government,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement. “It would be tragic for California to abandon the principle of equal protection for gay and lesbian people just as that principle is taking hold across the country.”
Legal Pad knows the California justices were well aware of the Iowa ruling. Now, wouldn’t it be something if the California court referenced the Iowa and Connecticut courts in its pending Prop 8 ruling?
— Mike McKee