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by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Iowa Supreme Court hears marriage case
The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments December 9 in Lambda Legal's case on behalf of same-sex couples who want to marry.

"We put our best case forward, and hope that the court breathes life into the Iowa Constitution's promise of equality," said Senior Staff Attorney Camilla Taylor.

The couples' case was argued by former Iowa Solicitor General Dennis Johnson of Dorsey & Whitney. "The government has no business standing in the way of a loving same-sex couple who wants to take responsibility for each other and their family," Johnson said.

Lambda filed suit in Polk County District Court in 2005 on behalf of six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses, arguing that the denials violated the liberty and equality guarantees in the Iowa Constitution. In 2007, the court agreed that banning same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional, and the county recorder and registrar appealed to the state Supreme Court.

One Gay couple - Sean and Tim McQuillan of Ames - got married before Judge Robert Hanson quickly suspended his ruling when it was appealed.



L.A. Episcopal diocese OKs Gay-couple blessings
The bishop of the Los Angeles diocese of the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, announced December 5 that priests can officially bless same-sex couples' unions.

The move came just days after a schism that saw hundreds of congregations split from the Episcopal Church and begin the process of forming their own denomination, primarily because they disagree with the pro-Gay positions of the Episcopal Church.

The schism's roots date to the 2003 election of openly Gay and partnered Gene Robinson as the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire.



Sykes, Huerta join Equality California boards
Out comedian Wanda Sykes has joined the board of directors of the Equality California Institute, and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta has joined the Equality California board, EQCA said December 9.

"Our two boards have added important new leaders - including many straight allies - from organized labor, faith communities, the entertainment industry and electoral politics," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "With their voices, we'll be able to build even greater support for equality and fairness."

Other new members include Sal Rosselli, president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers, former state Assemblymember Lloyd Levine and Ms. Magazine Executive Editor Kathy Spillar.

EQCA is the state's largest GLBT lobby group.

Sykes came out publicly November 15 at an anti-Proposition 8 rally in Las Vegas.

"When California passed Prop 8 ... I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked," Sykes said. "I got married October 25. You know, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I didn't feel like I had to, I was just living my life and, not necessarily in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody that knows me personally, they know I'm Gay. And that's the way people should be able to live their lives. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something that we automatically should have as citizens of this country. And I got pissed off. ... I said, You know what, now I gotta get in your face. And that's what we all have to do now. ... They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. We are so together now and we all want the same thing and we are not going to settle for less."

The Las Vegas rally was part of a national day of protest against Prop 8, organized by JoinTheImpact.com. There were demonstrations in 300 U.S. cities and towns, including 58 in California.

With assistance from Bill Kelley
picture top: Geoff Kors
below: Stonewall/LA
 

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