What follows is an abridged version of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage: KATHERINE VARNUM vs. TIMOTHY J. BRIEN, Polk County Recorder. Decision date: April 3, 2009.
Who would have thought that the next state to recognize gay rights was going to be Iowa? Right out here in the heartland, neighbor of Missouri, where I live? Many these states in the Midwest have taken pains to amend their laws to forbid gay marriage.
I am highly impressed by the Court’s ruling and opinion in the case of Varnum vs. Brien, the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage (here’s the full text of the opinion).
Here’s Des Moines Register’s brief description of the holding. It is an extraordinary opinion, extremely well-written and well-reasoned. It is extraordinary for both the legal analysis and for the emotional and social insights expressed by the court. This Court really gets what is at stake in this case, and did hide from any of the arguments asserted by the County.
It’s amazing what happens when you carefully lay out all of the arguments for the world to see, and I do believe that the Court covered all of the arguments expressed by those who are opposed to gay marriage, even a big argument that the anti-gay-marriage forces didn’t have the courage to raise in the courts (religious objections). Because the Court took the time to carefully lay out all of those anti-gay-marriage arguments, we can all see how empty and paranoid they sound in the abstract. When we see the anti-gay-marriage arguments calmly on paper, without the angry faces and the megaphones, we see them as the specious arguments they truly are.
Today, I took the time to read the entire 70-page opinion by the Iowa Supreme Court. It occurred to me, though, that many people (especially non-lawyers) might not want to work their way through the entire opinion. Therefore, I have created this “abridged” version, preserving the significant points, but redacting the citations and technical points. This actual words of the Court’s opinion are truly worth your while. Don’t settle for the simplified news media stories on this decision. This court’s opinion is professional and inspirational. In it’s thoroughness and directness regarding a tumultuous subject, it reminds me of the Pennsylvania decision of Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., (full decision of the Dover decision here).
In this legal decision, the Iowa Supreme Court takes the long view of history, as you can see at page 16, where the Court points out that it prohibited slavery more than 15 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rights of slave-owners in the Dred Scott case. This discussion is on the mark, given that any legislation curtailing the rights of gays is based on bigotry. The Court has a long analysis ready for those who would argue that homosexuality is a choice, starting around page 41 in the “immutability” section. The also Court slams the concept of “civil union” as a second rate version of marriage (for example, see page 9).
What was at stake in this case was Iowa Code section 595.2(1), which ostensibly provides:
“[o]nly a marriage between a male and a female is valid.”
The Court considered a mountain of evidence and reviewed dozens of amicus briefs (briefs from interested individuals and organizations who are not direct parties) before rendering its opinion.
Politics dictated FDA policy? Say it isn’t so!
According to this NY Times piece, the Bush Administration (they get the blame because, after all, he was the Decider) bade the FDA to meddle with contraception when it suited a certain agenda.
What I find so delightful about this, as with the Dover PA decision on Intelligent Design in the classroom, is that a Republican judge, this time a Reagan appointee, made the call.
The thing is, contraception and all that it implies really ought to be a conservative issue. I mean, really—it has all the hallmarks of the last 60 years of conservative philosophy built on the rights of the individual, the freedom from interference being chief among them. You would think conservatives would have leapt on this a long time ago, staking it out as exemplary of the idea of American Individualism and the freedom to act as a moral agent, dictating one’s own destiny and making determinations about how one will live one’s life free from government meddling. Handing both men and women the tools—provided by the free market, to boot—to manage their own lives in accordance with their formulation as individuals of the American Dream should have been a slam dunk for conservatives. They should have been cheering for it since the days of Margaret Sanger.
What is more, given the attitude of the communist states, which dismissed Sanger and the entire notion of family planning as a bourgeois, capitalist plot to undermine the growth of the collective, this should have been part and parcel of rearing a generation of people cumulatively opposed to Soviet style socialism and collectivism.
Everything about the Choice movement smacks of good ol’ fashion American Values! It is the perversity of the debate that is ironic, that it should be those who are castigated as liberal soldiers in the march to socialism and its destruction of all things individualist and true blue American who are the champions of the idea that people ought to have full say in the when and if of having children.
How did this happen?
I don’t get it.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that
A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked.
This fabrication is not surprising in light of the fact that Vioxx has now been shown to be of highly questionable effectiveness and based on real world use that has arguably caused tens of thousands of deaths–people who had heart attacks because they used Vioxx when they could have, instead, continued to use the extremely safe over-the-counter drug Naproxen. But then comes the good part, a claim by Dr. Rueben’s attorney:
“Dr. Reuben deeply regrets that this happened,” said the doctor’s attorney, Ingrid Martin. “Dr. Reuben cooperated fully with the peer review committee. There were extenuating circumstances that the committee fairly and justly considered.” She declined to explain the extenuating circumstances.
There you have it. There were “extenuating circumstances” for faking data in 21 medical studies. I wonder what those “extenuating circumstances” were? The desire to get rich by conniving with a dirty drug company (see the article for the evidence)? Our did those “extenuating circumstances” include the lack of any sense of professional responsibility? Or did those “extenuating circumstances” include sadistic impulses to endanger the lives of thousands of people?