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Lesson for Us Iowans: Reluctance to Go the Full Distance Has Consequences

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

For years, Iowa law relied on a rather reasonable bit of biological reality: it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. From that fact, the state reasoned that for questions of paternity, the answer would involve someone commonly called a “father.” So when the state recorded births as a matter of public record, it (rather logically) looked for a man as the non-birth parent.


As reasonable as that may seem, in the brave new world of “marriage equality” it is now “prejudicial” for state officials to ask this simple “who’s your daddy?” question.

That startling new reality came through a stunning judicial opinion dated May 3. In that opinion, Justice David Wiggins bluntly equated two women to a husband and a wife:

It is important for our laws to recognize that married lesbian couples who have children enjoy the same benefits and burdens as married opposite-sex couples who have children… By naming the non-birthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple’s child, the child is ensured support from that parent, and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth. Therefore, the only explanation for not listing the non-birthing lesbian spouse on the birth certificate is stereotype or prejudice.

But perhaps Justice Wiggins overlooked another explanation for not listing a woman as the “non-birthing” parent. In fact, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Heather Adams had offered a pretty decent explanation: “If I had to summarize the department’s case in one sentence, it would be this: It is a biological impossibility for a woman to ever legally establish paternity of a child.”


But no, in the Court’s eyes, the birds and bees of biology are “prejudicial” and even recognizing that mankind is a gendered species is bad “stereotyping.” It isn’t “stereotyping” to say that babies come from the union of a man and woman. It’s just basic indisputable science.

Decisions like this one reveal just how radically same-sex “marriage” reshapes our legal system and impacts the natural family—which is the foundation of liberty. Even the most basic reality of biology must be obscured: no longer may we have fathers, only “non-birth parents.” In this, even science must give way to political correctness.

This blinks reality. The natural family existed long before Iowa was even thought of—and these generally stable, naturally reproducing, nurturing families provided the best environment to raise new citizens for Iowa (and all other civilized societies in history). And yes, mothers and fathers were very much an essential part of this splendid family unit.

But once the Iowa Supreme Court grandly fabricated same-sex “marriage,” most any lawyer could predict that the same court would soon be scrubbing “father” from the public domain. And this lawyer will make another prediction: the power of the state in respect to the family can only increase. It will take a big, big government—and a dose of clever imagination—to ensure that same-sex couples cannot be distinguished in any way from a husband and wife. Banning dad from the public record is only the start.


We must recover the understanding that the Court may have final say over many laws, but they cannot overrule the laws of Nature.

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