Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two Controversial Decisions, Marriage Equality in Iowa

      Marriage Equality in Iowa

     In November of 2003 District Court Judge Jeff Neary granted a divorce to a same sex couple who were married in Vermont. This angered and frustrated the conservatives who appealed the Iowa Supreme Court. In June of 2005 the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the lower courts decision allowing for the divorce to be granted.

      In 2007 Iowa became the second state to allow full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. One couple was married before a judge put a stay on the ruling until it could be heard and decided on by the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa also became the 7th state to ban discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

      In January of 2008 the Iowa Supreme Court ruled second parent adoptions by same sex couples are legal.    

     On April 3, 2009 the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided on the matter of Varnum v. Brien which allowed same sex couples to be legally married in the State of Iowa. This decision did not come without controversy or ridicule from several people and organizations. Some of the people who are against this immediately called for the  Iowa Supreme Court Justices to be impeached and GOP leaders tried to initiate impeachment proceedings. When it was determined the justices did not commit an impeachable offense they changed their tactics to unseating them when the issue of their retention came up on the ballot in 2010.

     The Iowa Supreme Court is composed of 7 justices. They are appointed by the Governor to eight-year terms from a list of three nominees selected by the State Judicial Nominating Commission. The justices must be retained by a vote of the people of Iowa at the first general election held after serving at least one year, and every eight years thereafter. After the 2009 decision the 2010 general election is when three of the 7 justices were up for the retention vote.

     The biggest push to oust these justices was former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. Bob was largely supported and funded by an organization called The Family Leader, a conservative group against same sex marriage and some could even say marriage equality in general. Vander Plaats and The Family Leader lead a huge campaign of having the Iowa Supreme Court justices voted out with the hope the new justices would overturn and repeal the 2009 decision. Nothing changed. Even with the three new justices who were appointed the 2009 decision still stands, marriage equality in Iowa still exists, and same sex couple can still be legally married or divorced in the state of Iowa.

References:





IN THE SUPREME COURT OF IOWA, No. 07–1499,  Filed April 3, 2009

oneiowa, Letter to the editor: Family Leader is out of line on Judge Romano

Right Wing Watch, Iowa GOP Tries To Impeach State Supreme Court Over Marriage Equality

The Family Leader


Previous articles in the series:
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, History and Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1619
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1846
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1861
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1863
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1864
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1865
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1865 to 1990
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1990's
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1990 to Present
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Artifacts, Book and CD
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2002
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Celebrations and Photos
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2003 to 2004
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2009 to 2010
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2012 to 2015
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Flags
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Iowa Civil Rights Timeline
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1839
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1868
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1869
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1873
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1884
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1925
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1905 to 1940
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1930
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1948
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1949
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1965
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1967
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1968
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1970
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1972
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1979
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1980
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1990
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 2007
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 2009
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Resolving Conflicts/The Work Continues
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two Controversial Decisions, Thesis and a Brief History of the Iowa Territory
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two controversial Decisions, The Story of Ralph Montgomery
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: The Story of David Rorer
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two Controversial Decisions, Other Progressive Decisions made in the State of Iowa