The Iowa Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Tuesday in the case that challenges the constitutionality of Iowa’s gay marriage ban, and that has various Iowa scholars examining the issue. University of Iowa professor, Ann Estin says a majority of states have amended their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, but Iowa only passed a law banning same-sex marriage.
Estin says because Iowa only has a statute, and not a constitutional ban, made it possible for the challenge of the law. Estin says the Iowa Supreme Court could rule in one of the three ways supreme courts in other states without constitutional bans have ruled. In Massachusetts, Connecticut and California, the courts approved same-sex marriage, in New York and Washington State they said no, and in New Jersey and Vermont, they agreed only to civil unions.
At the University of Northern Iowa, sociology professor, Ruth Chananie-Hill’s research compares the same-sex marriage debate to the debate over interracial marriage. Chananie-Hill says the issue of interracial marriage took longer to come to a court settlement.
She says the interracial issue was played out over a longer period of time, as she says court cases over that issue started back in the early 1800’s. Chananie-Hill says the interracial marriage issue was not settled until 150 years later by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. She says in comparison, the first same-sex marriage cases were filed less than 40 years ago.
Court officials say they expect an overflow crowd with advocates from both sides of the issue seeking the limited seats in the courtroom. The court will stream the arguments on-line.