Key Point. The recognition of same-sex marriages by a state court or legislature will not require clergy to perform such marriages, or compel churches to allow their facilities to be used for them, in violation of their religious beliefs.
The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was invalid because it violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples who desired to marry. The Iowa legislature amended its marriage statute in 1998 to define marriage as a union between only a man and a woman. Despite this law, the six same-sex couples (the "plaintiffs") asked a county recorder to issue marriage licenses to them. The recorder, following the law, refused to issue the licenses, and the plaintiffs were unable to marry. Except for the statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the plaintiffs met the legal requirements to marry in Iowa.