Iowans braced this morning for the state Supreme Court's historic answer in Varnum v. Brien. The seven justices ruled in favor of gay marriage proponents. Gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in Iowa.

Iowa is the first Midwestern state to offer gay marriage, and because state marriage laws do not impose a residency requirement couples from nearby states will be able to marry in Iowa. However, no Midwestern state has announced it will honor those marriages.

At issue was the constitutionality of the state's decade-old law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

Six gay and lesbian couples sued Polk County after being denied a marriage license in 2005. Polk County Judge Robert Hanson agreed the law was unconstitutional, but the state Supreme Court suspended the lower court's decision and took the case on appeal.

Iowa joins two other states where gay and lesbian couples can marry – Massachusetts and Connecticut.

One Iowa, a gay marriage lobby group, has planned four evening rallies across Iowa to celebrate the good news. The rallies begin at 5:30PM in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City and Davenport. In Des Moines, the rally will be held at Gateway Park.