Iowa Court Hears Gay Marriage Debate

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Oral arguments on whether to legalize gay marriage in Iowa were heard Tuesday before the Iowa Supreme Court.

The case stems from a 2005 lawsuit filed by a six homosexual couples. They say the Hawkeye State's definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.

Click play for more insight on the battle over gay marriage in Iowa, from Janice Crouse, with Concerned Women for America. 

Supporters of the state's Defense of Marriage Act argue that gay marriage threatens traditional family values. The act was approved by state lawmakers in 1998.

During Tuesday's hearing, Assistant Polk County Attorney Roger Kuhle told the high court justices a ruling that allows same-sex marriage could harm children in future generations by eventually leading to belief that marriage is unneeded and no longer about procreation.

"We're saying that, after a generation, maybe two, people will see or could come to believe that if it's not necessary to have its biological father, or its biological mother, then what's the need for getting married?" Kuhle said.

"One could easily argue, and we do, that fostering same-sex marriage will harm the institution of marriage as we know it," Kuhle argued.

"It's not going to happen tomorrow," he explained. "We're not going to see any changes tomorrow, next week, next year, in our generation. But you've got to look to the future."

Judge Says Law Unconstitutional

In August of 2007, a district judge ruled a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. His ruling repealed the law. He then issued a stay on the issuing of marriage licenses to gay couples until the state supreme court decided to hear the appeal.

The high court could take as long as a year to rule on the case known as Varnum vs. Brien.

"We're hopeful and optimistic" that the court will uphold the ban, Bryan English, a spokesman for the conservative Iowa Family Policy Center told USA Today.

Amending State Constitution Difficult

However, amending the Iowa state constitution is more difficult than it was to amend the California law. Proposition 8 ended same-sex marriage in California last month.

According to Iowa state law, the procedure requires simple-majority approval of the Iowa House and Senate during two consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a simple majority of voters in the next general election. It would take at least two to two-and-a-half years to make the change to the state constitution official.

Currently Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states to allow same-sex marriage.

Sources: CBN News, USA Today, Iowa Independent, The Daily Iowan, Des Moines Register, The Associated Press

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