Monday, May 04, 2009

Iowa's Same Sex Marriage Law Will Not be Recognized by the Iowa National Guard

The Iowa National Guard can still involuntarily discharge gay and lesbian members under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy despite the decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to grant equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

From the Des Moines Register...
The federal law, approved by Congress in 1993, takes precedence over the Iowa Supreme Court ruling in April that legalized same-sex marriage, according to legal experts. The ruling struck down Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act, which had limited marriage to a man and a woman.

The Iowa National Guard is prevented from implementing the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling for its personnel because it is a federally recognized military organization, said Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood Jr., the Iowa National Guard's public affairs officer.

"We are a microcosm of society," Hapgood said. "We have gay people in the Iowa National Guard. But under that policy, that is not the test. It is about conduct, not about whether you are gay."

The federal law is often described as "don't ask, don't tell" because it permits gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they are not open about their sexual orientation.

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