- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The latest reaction in Iowa to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Iowa Christian conservative Bob Vander Plaats, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, says the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion creates a constitutional crisis.

Vander Plaats says the Constitution “was trampled on by activist judges who went way outside of their scope of jurisdiction and defied the laws of nature and nature’s God and it’s going to have severe ripple effects throughout this country.”

He says he’s more optimistic about the institution of marriage today than ever before because he believes the court’s decision will serve as a wakeup call for the church. He says the country knows right from wrong and “what this court did today was exceptionally wrong and they know that marriage simply means the institution of one man and one woman.”

He says it’s a matter of time before “we right the ship.”

Vander Plaats says, “Progressives may believe they won the day today but I really believe when we have a full-spectrum conservative who embraces the Constitution versus tramples on the Constitution, who upholds the laws of nature and natures God versus believing that he is God, I believe when we have that full-spectrum conservative he will be elected president.”


1:15 p.m.

Drake University constitutional law professor Mark Kende says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is broad in finding same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and due process rights of citizens.

Kende says Friday the majority ruling of the court in the 5-4 decision “emphasizes the strength with which the majority wants to send the signal that this is to be taken very seriously and has some historic significance.”

Kende says the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, similar to the national high court’s, was a catalyst for the nation “and opened the door to the idea that this could be mainstream America.”

He says the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion vindicates the Iowa court’s foresight. The unanimous ruling by the seven-member Iowa court in 2009 made Iowa the third state to legalize same-sex marriage. Three justices were voted off the bench the next year after gay marriage opponents spent millions of dollars on a campaign to defeat them in a judicial retention vote.

Kende says, “Regardless of the political consequences they are supposed to decide the law. I hope they do feel a sense of vindication.”


12:45 p.m.

Iowa’s four Catholic bishops say they are saddened by a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country.

In a statement released Friday soon after the court issued its decision, the bishops expressed sadness and noted, “To make something legal does not mean that it is true or good. Take, for example, the ruling that legalized abortion.”

The bishops say they will lead people to live under the gospels and quoted the passage: “One man and one woman who freely give themselves to each other in a permanent and exclusive partnership, to be helpmates for each other, and to be open to conceiving and bringing up children.”

The statement was signed by the archbishop of Dubuque and the bishops of Davenport, Des Moines and Sioux City.


12:25 p.m.

Former Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Baker says he’s not surprised the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed same-sex marriage on constitutional equal protection grounds.

Baker was among the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices to rule unanimously in 2009 that an Iowa law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He lost his job along with Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justice Michael Streit the following year when they failed to get enough votes in a judicial retention election. It was the result of an effort to defeat them by gay marriage opponents who spent millions of dollars on advertising.

The Iowa court’s decision made Iowa only the third state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Baker says the decision raised awareness of the issue because Iowa, not viewed as a strong liberal state, found gay marriage to be constitutionally guaranteed.

He says with the change in public opinion - 37 states have declared same-sex marriage legal - the court has ratified what was eventually going to happen anyway.


11:10 a.m.

Legalizing gay marriage in Iowa carried a heavy cost for three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court who were booted off the bench in a subsequent judicial retention election after heavy spending to defeat them by groups opposing gay marriage.

However, for same-sex couples the decision was life-changing. More than 11,000 same-sex couples have married in Iowa since the unanimous 2009 court decision, which made Iowa the third state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage.

The federal court ruling vindicates the Iowa justices’ decision, ruling similarly that same-sex couples have a right to marry under the Constitution. It affirms the practice in 37 states, which have declared same-sex marriage legal and will legalize the practice in the remaining 13 states that currently don’t allow it.

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