Iowa Supreme Court Re-defines Marriage
Wake-up Call for Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release
(Harrisburg, April 3, 2009)

The Iowa Supreme Court today unanimously struck down as unconstitutional that state’s marriage law. Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act is similar to Pennsylvania’s; it defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the definition that has existed throughout the state’s history.

The Pennsylvania Family Institute said today’s ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court highlights the urgent need in Pennsylvania to pass a state constitutional amendment to protect marriage.

“The Iowa court’s activist decision overrules the will of the people and redefines marriage. If they can do that in the Heartland, it can happen here in Pennsylvania,” said Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

“The court went out of its way to dismiss long-held evidence from the social sciences, history and major religious tenets, that children fare best in an intact, monogamous family, headed by a mother and father.

“This ruling is a wake-up call for Pennsylvania. Protecting marriage must now be front and center for Pennsylvania lawmakers. Without a state constitutional amendment, we are but one case away from radically changing marriage law against the will of the people and their elected representatives,” said Geer.

Just as in Iowa, Pennsylvania overwhelmingly passed a state Defense of Marriage Act more than a decade ago, but it remains vulnerable to the whims of activist judges without explicit language in our state constitution defining marriage between husband and wife.

Unlike most of the 30 other states that have amended their constitutions in recent years, Pennsylvania requires our legislature to act in two successive sessions before the people can decide in a referendum. In 2006, the Pennsylvania House of Representative passed a bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 136-61, only to see it get stripped in the Senate. In 2008, senate legislation moved through two committees, only to be stalled before it could reach the House.

Pennsylvania Family Institute is part of a statewide coalition working in support of protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman through passage of a constitutional amendment.