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Friday, May 6, 2016

Lawmakers appeal to Supreme Court to overturn gay marriage ruling

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Attorneys representing five Republican lawmakers filed court documents Tuesday asking the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn a Polk County judge, who struck down a state law banning same-sex marriage in August.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based organization that defends religious liberty, filed a friend of the court brief for: Rep. Dwayne Alons, of Hull; Rep. Carmine Boal, of Ankeny; Rep. Betty DeBoef, of What Cheer; Sen. Nancy Boettger, of Harlan; and Sen. James Hahn, of Muscatine.

The brief claims Judge Robert Hanson abdicated his duty to be fair and neutral in considering a legal challenge to a 1998 state law filed by gay couples.

Hanson's Aug. 30, 2007, ruling sided with six gay couples represented by Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization. The couples were denied marriage licenses in 2005 by Polk County officials.

Hanson said the state law asserting that marriage can only be between a man and woman was unconstitutional and must be nullified, severed and stricken from the books. He said the state's marriage laws "must be read and applied in a gender neutral manner so as to permit same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage..."

Immediately after his ruling, more than two dozen gay couples filed requests for marriage licenses and two gay men hurriedly found a Unitarian Church pastor to marry them before Hanson stayed his own ruling when it became apparent it would be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

The lawmakers' brief harshly criticized Hanson's ruling, saying he disregarded expert testimony by witnesses presented by the defendants. Hanson claimed their testimony was not based on science.

Lawmakers allege Hanson "turned a blind judicial eye to the wealth of evidence on the other side of the cultural debate," and ask for action.

"It must be stressed that this court is in no way bound by the abysmally crafted, incomplete factual statement concocted by the lower court," the lawmakers' brief said.

The Iowa Supreme Court will accept briefs in the case this spring.

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