Gay Marriage in Iowa & Sweden!

This morning – it’s official! 

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the state’s same-sex-marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making it the third state where gay marriage is legal.

In a unanimous ruling issued today, the court upheld a 2007 Polk County District Court judge’s ruling that the law was unconstitutional. The case stems from a 2005 lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay-rights organization. The group filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay and lesbian Iowa couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Iowa now joins Connecticut and Massachusetts as  states that allow same-sex couples to marry.

Meanwhile, the Vermont House of Representatives late Thursday approved a bill legalizing gay marriage, a measure that now faces a veto from the state’s governor.

The Democratic-controlled house voted 95-52 in favor of the bill, which had already cleared the state Senate in a 26-4 vote. The state’s Republican governor, James Douglas, says he now plans to veto it.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Maine also are considering bills that would allow gay marriage.

The Defense of Marriage Act says that under federal law only a marriage between a man and a woman is recognized. President Barack Obama has said he wants to repeal the 1996 law. That could give same-sex couples in states that recognize gay marriage or civil unions access to federal benefits, such as Social Security payments in the event of the death of one of the partners.


Sweden has become the fifth European country to allow same-sex marriage. Parliament on Wednesday adopted a new law, to take effect May 1, that gives same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Spain also allow same-sex marriages.