Lambda Legal Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Marriage Equality in Iowa

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"This has been a transformative year for gay and lesbian Iowans and their children."
March 31, 2010

(Des Moines, March 31, 2010) - This Saturday April 3rd marks the one year anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Lambda Legal's landmark marriage equality victory.

"This has been a transformative year for gay and lesbian Iowans and their children. One year of equality in Iowa has made same-sex couples and their children happier and more secure; made gay people everywhere prouder and safer; and reinforced the State of Iowa's leadership in protecting the rights of its citizens. That's a big win for everybody," said Camilla Taylor, Senior Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal and lead architect of the Varnum v. Brien lawsuit. "And our opponents have not succeeded in taking equality away. Thanks to the hard work of our partners at One Iowa and leadership in the legislature, the freedom to marry remains protected."

"For so many Iowans, the American dream includes getting married to the person he or she loves," said Dennis Johnson, former partner at Dorsey and Whitney and co-counsel with Lambda Legal on the case. "Same-sex couples all over the state of Iowa are now enjoying that dream along with the rest of us, and we're all better off for it."

"After a year of marriage equality, I can say with confidence that Iowa is a better place where all loving committed couples are respected," said Carolyn Jenison, Executive Director of One Iowa. "The many same-sex couples that have married in Iowa are a testament to Iowa's longstanding commitment to equality."

Iowa is one of six jurisdictions (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington D.C.) that allow same-sex couples to marry. Just last month Lambda Legal reactivated its marriage equality lawsuit (Lewis v. Harris) in New Jersey arguing that there is overwhelming evidence that the civil union law does not fulfill the New Jersey Supreme Court's order that same-sex couples be treated equally.

Anniversary Gala

Hosted by One Iowa and Lambda Legal
Saturday April 3, 2010 * 6:30-9:30pm
Temple for Performing Arts * Des Moines, IA

History of Lambda Legal's Lawsuit:
In December 2005, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit with the Polk County Court on behalf of six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in Iowa, arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the liberty and equality guarantees in the Iowa Constitution. In August of 2007 the district court ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. A unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

The Iowa case is: Varnum v. Brien

Camilla Taylor, Senior Staff Attorney and Kenneth Upton, Jr., Supervising Senior Staff Attorney handled the case for Lambda Legal. They were joined by former Iowa Solicitor General Dennis Johnson formerly of Dorsey and Whitney in Des Moines.