BIG DECISION: Iowans Weigh In On Gay Marriage Ruling
The Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
This law means marriages legal in a state can still be denied certain federal benefits.
However, the Supreme Court says it will review that law, as well as California’s Proposition 8 which bans same-sex marriage.
John Sellers and Tom Helton have been together for 14 years and have been legally married since 2009.
That’s when an Iowa Supreme Court decision ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.
“We’re just like any other married couple. We go to work every day, we shop,” said Helton.
While their marriage is recognized in Iowa, to the federal government they’re single.
The couple is ineligible for social security survivor payments and unable to file joint tax returns.
“DOMA prevented us from having the same rights any other married couple would have,” said Sellers.
They say the upcoming United State Supreme Court decision will be about more than the benefits.
“There isn’t any difference between my family and any other family. It’s just about fairness,” Sellers told Channel 13 News.
At least one Iowa group hopes justices defend what it considers traditional marriage.
“If the United State Supreme Court were to do the same thing the Iowa Supreme Court did, it would be extremely arrogant,” said Chuck Curley, the vice president of the Family Leader.
The Family Leader may be best known for its efforts to convince Iowans to vote out the Iowa Supreme Court justices whose decision allowed same-sex marriage.
The group’s vice president believes the United States Supreme Court should respect the will of voters.
“This isn’t something the judges should decide. Judges should allow us to voice our opinion on this issue,” said Curley.
Next year the court will decide which voice it agrees with.
The United State Supreme Court will hear arguments in March and make a decision in June.