Varnum v. Brien

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Status: Closed
Outcome:
Landmark Case, Victory
Court:
Iowa Supreme Court
Issues: Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections

Case that won the right for same-sex couples to marry in Iowa

Read more

Summary

Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples who seek to marry in Iowa. The lawsuit argues that under the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Iowa Constitution it is unlawful to bar same-sex couples from marrying. Since the lawsuit is based on state law, the Iowa Supreme Court will have the final word on the outcome of this case. The couples in this case have been together between five and over 16 years. Three of the couples are raising children, others are planning families, and all want the responsibilities of marriage and the protections only marriage can provide.

Context

Iowa’s constitution protects people’s right to marry the individual of their choice and promises equal treatment of all residents under state law. The words husband, wife or spouse or some form of the words marriage or marry appear in more than 540 sections of the state’s laws.

Lambda Legal's Impact

If successful, numerous gay and lesbian couples in Iowa will be given the rights and benefits of marriage — including the important word itself.