Iowa Supreme Court Unanimous in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

Video reports: NBC News, MSNBC Breaking News, Message from openly gay state senator Matt McCoy…


Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Camilla Taylor:

"Today's victory is a testament to the strength of love, hope and
courage — our clients have shown an abundance of all three for many
years and now at long last they will be able to marry. This will go down as another proud day in Iowa's long history of protecting individual rights."

New York's Empire State Pride Agenda:

"We are thrilled that the Iowa Supreme Court has done the right thing and ended discrimination against thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples by allowing them access to the literally hundreds of protections that come with marriage. We are happy that another state has joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in declaring that nothing short of full marriage equality will put an end to the hardships that many of our families experience on a daily basis. New Yorkers can now go to yet another state, get a marriage license that will be recognized as legal and valid here at home and have access to the vast majority of the 1,324 rights and responsibilities New York provides with it. We believe, however, that our families should not have to leave New York to get married; we should be able to get married here at home with our families and friends around us. Governor Paterson, the New York State Assembly and a majority of New Yorkers agree that it is time to do this. So too do both of our U.S. Senators, Attorney General Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli. The State Senate needs to get on board now with everyone else and pass marriage equality legislation this year."

GLAAD's Neil Giuliano:

"Today's ruling affirms that loving, committed gay and lesbian couples should no longer be excluded from marriage. GLAAD congratulates and expresses our deepest appreciation to One Iowa, Lambda Legal, the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and the other organizations, leaders and courageous couples whose work and perseverance culminated in today's ruling. GLAAD urges local and national media reporting on this historic story to ground their coverage in the stories of the Iowa couples whose enduring commitment is at the heart of today's decision."

Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese:

"This is a truly historic day for Iowa and a proud day for every
American who believes in the promise of equal rights and fairness for
all. The Iowa
Supreme Court did its job by recognizing that gay and lesbian couples
who form committed relationships and loving families deserve the same
level of respect afforded to heterosexual couples.  The unanimous court
made forcefully clear that the state constitution guarantees the same
rights and protections for all Iowans. This decision strengthens Iowa
families and makes a strong statement for equality all across the

Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

"This ruling marks another watershed moment in the struggle for full
equality. No longer will same-sex couples have their relationships
treated as less than equal by the state. The court rightly affirmed
that no loving committed couple should be denied marriage and the
critical protections only marriage can provide. This ruling also
affirms our common humanity by providing same-sex couples with the
opportunity to participate in the shared hopes and dreams of making a
public commitment to the person they love. We are thrilled that
equality has come to Iowa!"


  1. Brian says

    Oh yes! I know majority of people think Iowa is just fly over country. But at least I can get married in my state. I hope one day all states can.

  2. JTlvr says

    Iowa also surprised us all by supporting our new President in the primaries. That little state in the heartland is singlehandedly changing America.

  3. says

    I am a straight married man from Iowa that reads this blog and I just want to say that I have NEVER been more proud of my state than I am at this very moment.

    Well done, Iowa.

  4. ichabod says

    Stunning way to start the weekend. Are you paying attention Vermont, Maine, New Jersey and California?

    (Not to mention all the other states and commonwealths…)

    Bloody well done!!!!

  5. Jim says

    So proud of my home state. Also very happy that only a legislature-initiated constitutional amendment could change this – and that would take at least 2, and more likely 3 years. I doubt they could get a judge to stay the ruling that long. Go Hawks!

  6. darbnyc says

    Hurray for Iowa! BUT: “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa.” What the F is that supposed to mean? I don’t think he intended it the way it sounds, but c’mon Mr. Socarides… think before you speak. We can celebrate this victory in Iowa without denegrating the “Americanness” of the coasts, yes?

  7. Yeek says

    This fight is not over. Marriage can be taken away from us by our fellow citizens, no matter how many court cases we win. Our foes have hopes as well.

  8. Michael says

    As an Iowa resident I hope this decision helps to dispell the notion that many people on the coasts have that we are all pig farmers out here in fly-over country.

  9. Mike says

    I read the pertinent sections of the Iowa Constitution last night and really couldn’t figure out how they could come up with another ruling. The Iowa Constitution is crystal clear on equality.

    The elephant in the room that these bigots refuse to acknowledge of course is that they DO NOT consider gay people equal. They consider us as sexual deviants and perverts that society must be protected from. Of course they know if they spew their hate speech, that will turn off the vast majority who believe in live and let live. So, instead they use coded spin words (like protect marriage, children, etc) and other double speak to trick folks to side with them.

    The focus now returns to California and what the Supreme Court will do regarding Prop 8? Hopefully, they will rule that the majority does not have power to remove rights from a minority. The great protection in all constitutions is equality under the law. The majority is free to pass all kinds of laws, but those laws must also apply to themselves.

    Congratulations Iowa – unfortunately now, the hate robo calls shift to you.

  10. Patrick says

    Great news! Let’s not forget to support our brothers and sisters in Iowa as they take the lead in fighting back the wingnuts there. But today we celebrate with them!

  11. bgbaysjr says

    I wish I didn’t live in a world where I had to thank someone for recognizing that I am a human being, but I thank the Iowa Supreme Court for leading the great state of Iowa into the 21st century!

    “Deep in my heart, I do believe…”

  12. St. Theresa of Avila says

    This is good news, but I’m upset Socarides would say something as clumsy as: “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa”

  13. Mary says

    Being from Iowa, I am happy about this of course. Part of me wants to ask what I tell my friends when they ask why I’m not going to get married? Remember folks, you can get married in Iowa but when you drive over the border to any state… what are you then? Plus, I can be married in my state but not recognized federally? That is not okay. The only reason to get married would be to show the public just how many gay people there are out there. Of course the census isn’t helping in that respect. I would still be unmarried co-habitating, right?!

  14. Alex says

    Fantastic news but all these people railing about how wonderful Iowa is is a bit bewildering considering the actual case here was the Supreme Court overturning the fact that all those very same people in Iowa banned gay marriage in the first place. I thank the Iowa Supreme Court for making the right decision…but I’ll withhold judgment on how liberal Iowans are for a later date. They always have the opportunity to later amend their own constitution to ban it. Hopefully, like in MA and CT, they will choose not to do that. When that seems to be the case, I will feel better about this.

    That said, let’s not forget VT just passed gay marriage (by legislation) as well. Only the second state to do that behind California. Hopefully their governor will not be as asinine as Schwarzenegger was in CA.

    Great news this week.

  15. says

    This is a wonderful day…and it’s not just that it was Iowa and that it was unanimous. This opinion, which everyone should read, systematically exposes the anti-marriage legal arguments for the illogical blather that they are and with great sensitivity addresses the issue of religious opposition. This is a BRILLIANT opinion and one I expect will serve as the roadmap in similar cases.

    Midwestern values rule! Fairness and equality under the law. Hey Illinois and Minnesota, you folks paying attention here?

  16. gayalltheway says

    @Mary I totally agree with you. This is just a small step towards full equality. No more separate but equal bs. However, this is a great ruling by the supreme court and we should be thankful. Hopefully this is be an example for the other states and will somehow encourage the California supreme court to change their minds on Prop 8. This is a great day for the LGBT community. We are on the path to civil rights justice. Thanks to the millions of Iowan and Lambda legal who fought long and hard to achieve this equality.

  17. says

    @Dan; Ireland calling. We follow this blog too; You have every right to be proud of Iowa on a historic day. Congratulations all Iowa and the fair and enlightened judges you have serving justice.

  18. Tim says

    First Obama… now this.

    I think Iowa is like the guy in the bar with a meh face, who is secretly packing a 10 inch cock and abs of steel.

    Work it out Iowa

  19. Paul says

    I am absolutely thrilled by this decision. On to a very minor observation:

    I noticed in this posting how effective conservatives have been in framing the language of this debate. You wrote in the post “and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.” I think this language implies that they lost in their battle to protect traditional families. We need to not use their talking points when describing their agenda – it is to limit the right to marry to opposite sex couples. The desire to “protect traditional families” implies that gay marriage poses a threat to traditional families; I’m sure you nor your readers agree with that implication.

  20. Lubin Odana says

    Great news. Watching events in the U.S. with a lot of interest from a British perspective. We have civil partnerships here – but it should be marriage. Every American success is an inspiration for the rest of the world.

  21. sparks says

    I’m very happy for Iowa, but I’m disappointed in the Des Moines Register for the some of the phrasing in their report.

    “The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.” —

    This makes it sound like a win for marriage equality means a loss for traditional families. Would have been more accurate to say “…conservatives who wanted to exclude non-traditional families from the basic rights and protections which traditional families enjoy.”

  22. Michael says

    As a shamed Californian (who prays that this will encourage the Surpreme Court justices to consider hard their role in protecting the interest of a suspect class), I am so encouraged by this fact (something that eluded us due to simple poor timing): a Propsition 8 like measure cannot be introduced in Iowa prior to 2012!!!

    In Iowa, there must a two-thirds vote in the by the legislature before an anti-gay admendent can appear on the ballot, make it impossible for voters to vote on this prior to the 2012 election. By then, hopefully the people will have adjusted to gay marriage, as the did in MASS, and Iowa will remain a state that prides itself for its stand on equality!

  23. Eric Payne says

    I just ordered a copy. On the order page, there is a block for “Comments.”

    Here’s ours:

    “After today’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling concerning civil marriage, my spouse
    and I wish to show our appreciation by visiting your beautiful state.”

    Even if it’s just for a weekend… even if it’s just to run up to, oh, a BBQ
    Festival… if there’s ever been a state that deserves an infusion of some “gay
    dollars,” right now, it’s Iowa!

    Eric Payne
    Lawrenceville, GA

    Wow. Iowa. Whodda thunk it?

  24. JerzeeMike says

    WAY TO GO HAWKEYES!!!!!!! I visited Iowa once with my best friend in the military and the people there were some of the nicest, welcoming people I’ve ever met.

  25. WPM says

    How’s that song in the Music Man go?
    “But we’ll give you our shirt, And a back to go with it, If your crops should happen to die. You Ought to give Iowa a try!” Might be time to visit!!!

  26. says

    NOW is the time to push vigorously for full federal equality – with NO apologies.

    As a group we collectively have some serious self-esteem issues based on HOW we have been fighting inequality for these past 30 years, but who WOULDN’T have some issues, considering the hate we are fed from day one. But something is inherently wrong with us if we think we need to “win” rights and “convince” others that we are deserving of those rights. Victimhood Embraced – F*CK THAT. Demand federal equality NOW, and support the EQUALITY & RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT.

  27. satori says

    I’m not surprised, but I am very pleased. In Iowa, dozens of school districts have formal protections for both sexual orientation and gender expression, only Washington has more, and Iowa has many more than the next most plentiful state.

  28. an oklahoman says

    As a straight person who strongly supports the LGBT community, I am really impressed with Iowa. I tried to convince my fiancee that we should only get married in a state that recognizes marriage equality, but that wouldn’t fit into our severely limited budget.
    The fact that another midwestern state has seen the light on this issue gives me a slim ray of hope for my state…

  29. Andrew says

    Congrats from MN! We hope to be joining your state once we get a DFL (Democrat) Governor in 2010 amd maintain our massive majorities in the state legislature.

  30. Jeffrey says

    I am so proud of Lambda Legal (the one truly deserving organization to give money to for advancing glbt rights).
    And a huge thank-you to the Justices for their wisdom.
    I am embarrassed for my home state of California and full of admiration for Iowa.
    DOMA needs to be repealed NOW. How can same-sex marriages performed legally in several states (including the ones already performed in California) NOT be recognized across the country just like every other marriage? It makes NO sense!

  31. Bill Perdue says

    This is going to make life a little more difficult for the Bigot in Chief in the White House. His wiggle room is shrinking all the time.

    People say that politics make strange bedfellows but there’s nothing strange about the way Obama is snuggling up the bigots on this question. He used to support same sex marriage but lost an election over it and got religion, aka bigotry. Everyone knows his history from revival meetings with ex-gay turncoats like Donnie McClurkin to blowing us out of the water last November with ‘gawd’s in the mix’.

    Obama is our open enemy and so are most Democrats in Congress. It’s time to break with them and build an independent, left, militant, massive LGBT action front to propel our equality agenda toward.

  32. Bruno says

    I really hope this lights a fire under the California supremes to toss prop H8. It won’t most likely, but I can hope. The CA ruling on prop 8 may actually be revisted in Iowa in a few years if they’re able to get an amendment on the ballot.

  33. rudy says

    I was deeply touched by the opinion and decision to such an extent that I had a huge grin on my face all day. Several people (friends and strangers) stopped to ask me why I was so happy. I was more than pleased to tell them of the decision by the Iowa Supremes to support basic human rights for all its citizens, straight and gay. Estupendo!

    As for Socarides, he often talks before he thinks but is generally a good guy, especially considering that his father, a psychiatrist, practiced “reparative therapy” in which he used therapy and female surrogates to “heal” gay men into becoming straight. Obviously, that did not work for any of them, including his son.

  34. David Lawrence & Robert Galik says

    We live in vermont and are so happy for our Iowa families we celebrate your victory and hope our governor is going to give us a reason to celebrate too !!!!

  35. Rich says

    Congratulations Iowa! I’m very happy to hear your state has made the leap to marriage equality, I live in Toronto in Canada and I’ll never forget how thrilled I was when we won our equality, it too made me very proud of my country and province. I love reading stories such as these and know that one day soon everyone in the US will have marriage equality too.
    Congratulations from Toronto!

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