(CNN) -- An Iowa district court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples can marry based on the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment, court documents show.
An Iowa district judge ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
The ruling was in response to a December 2005 lawsuit brought by six same-sex couples seeking to wed. They were denied marriage licenses and claimed such treatment violates equal-protection and due-process clauses in the Iowa constitution.
The court also struck down a state law declaring valid marriages are only between a man and woman.
The Iowa District Court for Polk County advances the case to the Iowa Supreme Court which will make a final decision on same-sex marriage, according to Lambda Legal, a gay and lesbian legal organization representing the couples.
The 63-page ruling, written by Judge Robert Hanson states: "Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 595 by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex."
The law describing marriage as between a man and a woman, "constitutes the most intrusive means by the state to regulate marriage. This statute is an absolute prohibition on the ability of gay and lesbian individuals to marry a person of their choosing," Hanson wrote.
This is news the Democrats did NOT need to come their way. Nothing can energize a demoralized GOP Evangelical base more than a judge forcing same sex marriage upon them. This could become a big issue in a state like Iowa in the general election, and that just does not bode well for the Democrats in states like Iowa. This isn't New York, California or New Jersey; this is Iowa, the middle of the ' Heartland', and this is an issue that just won't play well with the rank and file Iowan voter, irrespective of political party.