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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Iowa is now the poster child for why it is important to have constitutional amendments that decree that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
It has been my contention for some time that each state needs to have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. Without such an amendment, a state's activist Supreme Court can overturn a law adopted by the legislature, declaring it to be unconstitutional. That is what happened in Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In passing Proposition 8 in referendum last November, voters reversed a similar move by the California Supreme Court the previous May.
The April 3 decision propelled Iowa to the forefront of our nation's "same-sex marriage" debate when the state's highest court ruled the state's ban on "same-sex marriage" violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Iowa joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont in permitting marriages between homosexual and lesbian couples.
Once again, it was the judicial branch of a state government rending the nation's moral fabric, bent on rewriting our country's social construct.
With no residency requirements, the court's opinion means at the end of April when the order goes into effect, same-sex couples will be free to travel from other states to exchange "vows" in the Iowa heartland.
This ruling turns Iowa into a destination for "same-sex marriages." No doubt, there are weekend travel packages already being planned. Iowa will soon be the Las Vegas of "same-sex marriage" for America. And you know those folks won't be resettling in the Hawkeye state, but will be heading back home -- perhaps to your state to sue for recognition there.
And given there is no provision for citizen-initiated constitutional referendums in Iowa, it will take at least two years for proponents of traditional marriage -- if successful -- to get a ban on "same-sex marriage" in the state's constitution.
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal promised he would block any legislation codifying a ban on "same-sex marriage" in the state's constitution, saying he doesn't see anything wrong with a "bunch of people who merely want to profess their love for each other."
The only way to stop another state's judges from trumping the people's elected representatives is to pass an amendment to that state's constitution. Thirty states have already done this and are at least protected from the overreach of their state's Supreme Court.
The Iowa Supreme Court couldn't have ruled that an amendment to the constitution is "unconstitutional." If they had done that, then a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" would be imperiled. If the California Supreme Court does this in the case they are currently considering, then we'd have to say that our entire system of government is coming to a tragic end.
Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.