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Ensue in Support of Iowa's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Religious Rallies
Ensue in Support of Iowa's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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With efforts ranging from prayer rallies to political advocacy, Iowa churches are at the forefront of an escalating fight over a county judge's ruling that overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban. About 1,200 people from local churches joined hands and sang the civil rights anthem ''We Shall Overcome'' at a recent rally in Des Moines urging the Iowa supreme court to reverse the judge's decision. ''This is more than a political battle,'' said the Reverend Keith A. Ratliff Sr. of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church. ''This is a spiritual battle.''

With efforts ranging from prayer rallies to political advocacy, Iowa churches are at the forefront of an escalating fight over a county judge's ruling that overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban.

About 1,200 people from local churches joined hands and sang the civil rights anthem ''We Shall Overcome'' at a recent rally in Des Moines urging the Iowa supreme court to reverse the judge's decision.

''This is more than a political battle,'' said the Reverend Keith A. Ratliff Sr. of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church. ''This is a spiritual battle.''

Polk County district judge Robert Hanson ruled on August 31 that a state law defining marriage as only between a man and woman was unconstitutional and ordered the Polk County recorder to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The next day, Hanson stayed his ruling while the case is appealed to the state supreme court, which could take two years. Only one couple was able to marry -- the ceremony was performed in a Unitarian pastor's front yard -- before Hanson suspended his ruling.

The state's four Roman Catholic dioceses, meantime, are calling for a different fix -- a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

''Marriage between a man and a woman is a good from the perspectives of both natural law and our Catholic faith,'' according to a statement from the Iowa Catholic Conference. ''Society has chosen to protect and promote marriage because of its unique contribution to the common good.''

Republican lawmakers have renewed their call for a marriage amendment. Gov. Chet Culver and other Democrats say the state should wait for the Iowa supreme court to rule. (AP)

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