- Of the several courts that have ruled for relationship recognition for same-sex couples, this is the first unanimous ruling.
- This is also the first such ruling from a court in a non-coastal state.
- The ruling clearly rejects any substitute for full equality, such as civil unions.
- Much as in Massachusetts, the Iowa Constitution is difficult to amend; it would take at least three years to do so.
- The Court's opinion is very, very thorough, smart and readable; it does an especially good job of dismantling the state's arguments about "immutability" and "political powerlessness" (which, as I have discussed here, often trip courts up). Like the decisions of the Connecticut and California courts, this one provides an invaluable road map for other courts addressing this and many related issues. At the same time, the decision reached only as far as it needed to, ruling on Equal Protection grounds alone and sorting out some of the thorny tangles of Equal Protection doctrine while avoiding others when it was clear that, however they were resolved, the Iowa law would fall.
Update: I doubt I can improve upon the great summary and discussion of the opinion over at Leonard Link.