A judge in Des
Moines denied a request by 25 lawmakers Wednesday to
intervene in a legal battle over the state's ban on
same-sex marriages. Judge Robert Hanson overruled
several arguments made by the lawmakers, including one
that said allowing same-sex marriages would
have a sweeping impact on the state's budget and
several other laws.
"Whether or not constitutional claims are valid
is a matter of judicial determination, not
legislative," Hanson said in his ruling. "The
separation of powers between legislative and judicial
authority is not endangered by this case. Nor will any
determination by this court limit the legislature's
authority to make laws."
"We are thrilled that the court has stopped this
effort at meddling and allowed these couples to seek
these important rights for their families without
interference or grandstanding by politicians," Camilla
Taylor, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest office in
Chicago and attorney on the case, told The
Advocate. "Unlike the politicians who sought to
intervene, plaintiffs have a direct stake in the case.
Plaintiffs and their children need the vital supports
and protections that come only with marriage, such as
the ability to visit each other in the hospital or take
bereavement leave if they suffer a death in the family."
The lawmakers, all but one of whom are
Republicans, wanted to be included as defendants in a
lawsuit filed by six gay and lesbian couples who
contend that the state's marriage laws are unconstitutional.
Republican representative Carmine Boal said
legislators were disappointed by the decision but are
not convinced the couples will win the case. "We've
seen some court decisions in other states that we believe
strengthen our case," Boal said.
Supreme courts in Washington State and New York
issued defeats for same-sex marriage proponents in
decisions released last month. Iowa's lawsuit, filed
in December, contends that the gay couples were treated
unfairly when Polk County recorder Tim Brien improperly
denied them marriage licenses. The lawsuit argues that
Iowa's marriage law is unconstitutional because it
draws "impermissible distinctions based on sex and
The trial is scheduled to begin October 23. (AP
contributed to this report)