Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Marriage Equality!

It’s a great day for equality! The Iowa Supreme
Court just announced their unanimous decision in Varnum v.
, the landmark marriage equality case. Iowa has a history
of moving equality forward, setting the pace for other states.
Below is our press release. We’ll update this post as we learn

Congrats to our partners in Iowa, Lambda Legal and One Iowa, for
their tireless efforts leading this case.


Friday, April 3, 2009


Dustin Kight, Communications Manager, Family Equality Council,, 617-502-8700 x228

Family Equality Council
Thrilled by Historic Iowa Marriage Ruling

Statements from Executive Director, Jennifer Chrisler,
and Iowa LGBT parents, Sandi & Melanie

Media Interviews Available

Boston, MA
— Today the Iowa Supreme Court issued a landmark, unanimous
ruling in Varnum v. Brien, a case involving six same-sex
couples who sought and were denied marriage licenses in Iowa. In
2007, Polk County Judge Robert Hanson ruled that the license
denials were unconstitutional and struck down Iowa’s 1998 so-called
“Defense of Marriage Act,” which prohibited the state from marrying
same-sex couples. One couple was legally wed before Judge Hanson
stayed his ruling, pending appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Today’s Supreme Court decision upholds Judge Hanson’s ruling and
will go into effect in twenty one days.

Demographics compiled by the
Williams Institute
show approximately 5,800 same-sex couples
living in Iowa. Twenty-percent of these couples are raising
children in their homes. Marriage discrimination contributes to
same-sex couples’ comparatively lower household incomes, despite
their higher than average rates of employment in Iowa. Today’s
ruling goes a long way to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) Iowans in a time when all families are
struggling greatly.

and One Iowa
led the efforts to secure marriage equality in Iowa.

Statement of Jennifer Chrisler,
Executive Director, Family Equality

“The Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous,
pro-equality ruling in Varnum v. Brien reminds us what’s
at stake in the struggle for equal marriage—families’ abilities
to care for and protect themselves. Thousands of LGBT families in
Iowa are raising children. These children deserve the same
recognition and respect that children of other married parents get.
I’m very proud that Family Equality Council has
actively supported LGBT families in Iowa leading up to the Court’s
decision. Working with state partners, we will continue to prepare
our Iowa families for any backlash that may come. We are building a
coalition of national, state, and local family groups to support
Iowa efforts; providing extensive spokesperson training to put the
power of our families to work; and training our colleagues on
family-centered approaches to grassroots organizing, ensuring that
the families most affected by this ruling are involved in the
process of ensuring its permanence.”

Statement of Sandi & Melanie
Patton-Imani, LGBT parents, Des Moines, Iowa:

“Our family is celebrating with great joy at
finally being granted full civil rights by the state we live in! My
partner, Melanie, and I entered into a civil union in Vermont in
2000. We have two children together, but because Iowa has not
recognized our union, we have not been able to fully protect our
family. We look forward to having both of our names listed on our
children’s birth certificates, as they should be, as their
parents. Now we move forward, working to ensure equality for
families in all fifty states.”

EDITORS: To book an interview
with Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council, or
Sandi & Melanie Patton-Imani, LGBT Iowa parents, please call or
email the media contact listed above.

About Family Equality

The Family Equality Council works to ensure
equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents
by building community, changing hearts and minds, and advancing
social justice for all families. For more information, please visit

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