The only same-sex marriage lawsuit currently pending before any court in the country took the seven justices of the Iowa Supreme Court through a dizzying tour of what have become classic same-sex marriage legal debates Dec. 9. Their questions, and the attorneys' answers, covered procreation, polygamy, the upbringing of children, the downfall of civilization, Bowers v. Hardwick and more.
Polk County assistant attorney Roger Kuhle beckoned the justices to "look into the future" and "picture," as he did, that the allowance of same-sex marriage in Iowa could lead to a "scenario" a generation from now "when the state says it's not relevant who raises a child." A few minutes later, he dismissed the stigma of barring same-sex couples from marrying and the harm that could do to their children as "hypothetical."
Former Iowa Solicitor General Dennis Johnson, representing the same-sex couples on behalf of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, fended off concerns about same-sex marriages leading to polygamy by saying that marriage is an "institution" that has traditionally been between two people only.
"Aren't you doing the same boxing-in of the definition of marriage" as opponents of same-sex marriage, asked Justice Brent Appel, who is married and has six children. No, said Johnson, because the dispute is not over the definition of marriage; the dispute is over "who is allowed to participate" in marriage.
"If same-sex couples are allowed to marry, my marriage will not be affected at all," said Johnson. "They will operate under the same sex of laws."
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