Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would stop Iowa gay marriage immediately: GOP's House File 330 uses loophole in Iowa constitution

The Des Moines Register reports that six Iowa GOP representatives have sponsored a bill by Republicans Dwayne Alons of Hull, Glen Massie of Des Moines, Tom Shaw of Laurens, Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill, Royd Chambers of Sheldon and Betty De Boef of What Cheer that would prohibit county recorders from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a public vote on an Iowa constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships takes place, and the Iowa Supreme Court would be unable to throw the law out.
House File 330 specifically says that the Supreme Court shall not be able to prohibit or restrict the law if the bill were passed.
     ...There is a provision in the Iowa Constitution (Article 5, Section 4) that allows lawmakers the ability to make laws that skip Supreme Court review, noted Drake Law Professor Ian Bartrum.
     ...Outcome: Iowa families could appeal a recorder’s decision in trial courts but those decisions would not be able to be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. It would make the lower courts ruling final and it would also set up the likelihood that Iowa would have pockets of the state were the law was recognized and others were it was thrown out.
     “I think the result is that you would have a hodgepodge of rulings across the state,” Bartrum said. “It would depend on whatever the local district judge thought because were would be no uniform appeal.”
     Massie said his ambition behind the bill is to advocate Judeo Christian ethics as law.
     “The Iowa House is leading us toward a constitutional crisis,” said Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa. “Not only does this bill attempt to bypass the rules guiding the amendment process but also attempts to strip authority from Iowa’s top court.”
     ...Prohibiting Supreme Court review is extremely rare although the proposal was also introduced this year in House File 153, a bill that would declare all life protected at conception.

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