Iowa Legalizes Gay Marriage, Vermont Would Do Well to Follow

The Iowa court ruled well, but the Vermont governor is going to do the wrong thing.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Iowa's Supreme Court ruled this morning that a state ban on gay marriage violates the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians. Good for the court.

That brings to three the number of states where people of the same sex can get married. A fourth, Vermont, has a bill legalizing same-sex marriage that has passed both houses of its legislature and now awaits the governor's promised veto. Bad for the governor (and I say that as someone who spent his college years in the Green Mountain State).

The same-sex marriage issue makes me crazy because it seems to me such a clear-cut issue. Yes, marriage is a religious institution and the notion of two men or two women marrying flies in the face of some religions (or more precisely flies in the face of the way some practitioners interpret their religion's tenets). But marriage is also a civil institution, with all sorts of legal implications regarding inheritance, hospital visitation rights, and so forth.

So if some religious institution wants to be bigoted ... well that's their business. But the state should not affirm that sort of bigotry.

Of course, the Iowa decision will set off a firestorm as conservatives and preening demagogues try to use the issue to work their supporters into a lather.

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