Gay Marriage in Iowa
Equal protection is equal protection. When legislating against an identifiable group, such as homosexuals, one must have a rational basis for doing so. This is true in state and federal law (and a portent for things to come). As Justice Scalia pointed out in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, as soon as private consenual sodomy is regarded as essentially private and beyond the reach of legislation, there is not rational basis for denying gays the right to marry a same sex partner.
While religious leaders talk about the role of procreation in marriage, the ability to procreate is not a requirement in either civil law or canon law to marry - (Canon law requires only the ability to function - although it still regards sodomy as disordered). Of course, the very concept of disorder requires that there be a natural order outside of human experience to damage (since God cannot be damaged). If the natural order is considered a sophistry then the disorder argument carries no weight, especially given the biological evidence that homosexuality is simply a natural variation in the species.
If inability to procreate is not a bar to marriage among heterosexuals, it cannot be so for homosexuals. Additionally, marriage is not required for procreation, although it is helpful in providing a stable environment for children. Of course, the stable environment argument favors gay marriage, given that gay parents often have custody of their children.
The key role of marriage is to separate individuals from their families of origin, creating a new family. As Jesus said, when someone is married, they leave their families and cling to their spouse, and the two will become one flesh. Practically, that means that they are legally the same person, excluding the family of origin from any power formerly held, including the right to inherit property, make decisions in illness and make funereal arrangements.
The question of marriage did not come up when there were no end of life decisions to be made. People got sick and either died or got better. Now they may or may not linger and may or may not recover. There is visitation to be decided - often with estranged families excluding a person who is essentially a spouse. While civil unions are an attempt to rectify this, they are but an act of political correctness designed not to offend the sensibilities of the religious (who have not conducted themselves toward homosexuals in anyway so as to deserve an opinion on the matter).
The key legal question is this: what compelling right do families of homosexuals have in maintain an interest in the lives of their gay family members vis a vis the member's spouse when compared to those of heterosexual family members vis a vis their spouses? In other words, why do gay spouses deserve less respect than straight spouses?Unless you can find an overwhelming rational basis for a difference, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled correctly - as will the U.S. Supreme Court when they finally see this issue.
Ultimately, Churches will see that they must celebrate gay weddings. There are two reasons. The first is that it gives them a platform to preach monogamy - a platform they do not have now by declaring all homosexual activity sinful. The second is because the wedding ceremony is a comfort for the family, not just the couple. When the famillies are rightly seen as the beneficiaries of these rites, they will begin demanding that they occur and they will be performed.