Odgaard v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission
Case representing a gay couple denied the ability to rent event space by an Iowa commercial business establishment.
Lambda Legal has filed papers on behalf of Lee Stafford and Jared Ellars seeking to join an appeal between a Grimes, Iowa, commercial establishment that had refused to rent event space to them for their wedding and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). The same-sex couple had filed a complaint against the establishment, the Görtz Haus Gallery, an art gallery and event space, with the ICRC after the gallery refused to rent event space to them for their wedding. The owners of the art gallery, Betty and Richard Odgaard, refused to rent their space, citing religious objections to marriage for same-sex couples. Mr. Stafford and Mr. Ellars subsequently filed a complaint with the ICRC, but the Odgaards quickly filed a lawsuit in the Polk County District Court against the ICRC seeking to block the agency’s investigation of the matter.
- April 2014: Polk County (Iowa) District Court dismisses lawsuit brought by Betty and Richard Odgaard against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), saying the Odgaards must go through the ICRC administrative process.
- May 2014: Odgaards appeal ruling to Iowa Supreme Court.
- June 4, 2014: Lambda Legal files a Motion to Intervene on behalf of Lee Stafford and Jared Ellars.