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Iowa's top court brings gay marriage to America's heartland

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Forty-three states have laws explicitly prohibiting such marriages, including 29 with constitutional amendments restricting marriage to one man and one woman.

In a New York Times oped last month, Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution and David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values suggested the federal government give civil union status to same-sex marriages and civil unions granted by states – so long as those states included strong religious conscience clauses.

While agreeing that religious exemptions are needed, leading same-sex marriage opponent Maggie Gallagher doesn't think recent losses in court spell the beginning of the end to the legal fight. While Iowa, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Maryland, New York, and Washington state have rejected it. California repealed the gay marriage ruling by voter initiative in November.

"Are we going to be losing masses of state courts? No," she says. But she says proponents seem to be gearing up for a bigger prize: "They are going after federal rights for same-sex marriage."

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