Friday, September 7, 2007

Battle Continues to Rage

Same-sex marriage rights won for an instant in Iowa
By Caleb T. Maupin

Published Sep 6, 2007 7:56 PM
The firmly established order represented by both the Republic and Democratic parties which says that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people should not enjoy the same rights as others, was cracked for a brief moment in Iowa on Sept. 29.

A judge in Polk County declared same-sex marriage legal, overruling the reactionary law which the state legislature had passed, euphemistically called “in defense of marriage.”

As soon as the announcement was made, LGBT people began to pour into the county to receive marriage licenses.

Normally those licenses require a waiting period of three business days before the marriage can be performed. But Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan, students at the University of Iowa, didn’t wait. They found a loophole in which a couple can avoid the waiting period with permission from a judge.

District Judge Scott Rosenberg made it possible for the couple to become spouses in the complete legal sense. When asked if he was making a political statement by signing for the speedy matrimony, Judge Rosenberg told the Des Moines Register: “I think had I not signed it, that would be a political statement. If I’m going to grant it for couples that are male and female, then why all the sudden should I change because a couple is the same sex?”

But the powers that be soon stepped in. After 21 licenses were signed, the ruling was put on hold; more couples were turned away.

Gregory Mathis and his partner didn’t make it to Polk County quickly enough.

Mathis told the Cedar Rapid Gazette: “It’s very disappointing, but I guess it’s not new. In the 1970s I didn’t get custody of my child because I’m gay. In the 1980s I was excommunicated from my church because I’m gay. I’ve had a lot of walls thrown up at me because I’m gay, this is just one more.”

It is the movement in the streets that has won the LGBT progress that has been made, and it is in the streets that an end to state discrimination against same-sex couples will be won.

Articles copyright 1995-2007 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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