One Iowa, Lambda Legal, and Justice Not Politics Celebrate Three Iowa Supreme Court Justices' Profile in Courage National Honor

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Justices Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit and David Baker will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
March 6, 2012
Camilla Taylor

"Chief Justice Ternus, Justice Streit, and Justice Baker took an oath to defend the Iowa Constitution and earned their place in history when they lived up to their oath with integrity and did the right thing before much of the rest of the country was ready."

Des Moines, IAToday, it was announced that three Iowa Supreme Court Justices who were ousted in the 2010 judicial retention vote will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in May. This is the highest and most prestigious award that can be bestowed upon public servants and was created to celebrate political courage.

On April 3, 2009, the Iowa State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that excluding gay and lesbian couples from marriage was unconstitutional. In August 2010, the state’s most prominent anti-equality leader, Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats, launched an attack on the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were up for retention on the November 2010 ballot. Through a campaign fueled by misinformation and bankrolled by out-of-state anti-gay groups and leaders, most notably the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the American Family Association (AFA), the three justices were ousted.

Justice Not Politics Board Chair Connie Ryan Terrell issued the following statement:

“Justice Not Politics extends congratulations to Justices Ternus, Baker, and Streit for receiving this high honor. Iowa is consistently recognized for its quality courts, and the three esteemed justices played no small part through their many contributions on the bench. We also commend them for the continued role they play in advancing Iowa's fair and impartial courts.”

One Iowa Interim Executive Director Calla Rongerude issued the following statement:

“One Iowa congratulates Justice Ternus, Justice Streit, and Justice Baker for their courage and their commitment to upholding the Constitution. Because of their dedication to seeing all Iowans as equal under the law, they have transformed the lives of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples and have made Iowa a more inclusive and fair place for all families. This is a very well deserved honor.”

Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor issued the following statement:

"Chief Justice Ternus, Justice Streit, and Justice Baker took an oath to defend the Iowa Constitution and earned their place in history when they lived up to their oath with integrity and did the right thing before much of the rest of the country was ready," said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director at Lambda Legal and architect of the Varnum lawsuit. "We congratulate them on this much deserved high honor."

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Contact Info

Erik Roldan 312-663-4413 ext. 359; Cell: 312-545-8140; Email: eroldan@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

One Iowa is the state’s largest LGBT organization working for full equality for LGBT individuals living in Iowa through grassroots efforts and education.

Justice Not Politics is a broad based, nonpartisan coalition of organizations and Iowans across the political spectrum—progressive to conservative; Republicans, Independents and Democrats—all who are committed to protecting Iowa’s courts and our system of merit selection and retention. 

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