Nearly two years after six same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses by Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien, an Iowa court ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
This is the first successful decision in a marriage equality case in the American Midwest and shows that fairness and equality for all are valued across our nation. The decision brings to life the Iowa Constitution’s promise of equality for same-sex couples and their families.
This case now moves forward, and the Iowa Supreme Court will ultimately have the final decision.
Get the Facts:
Read Lambda Legal’s Q & A about what a “stay” on the decision means in this case, and what you can do if you already applied for a marriage license.
Lambda Legal filed this lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Iowa. We argue that under the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Iowa Constitution it is unlawful to bar same-sex couples from marrying. The couples in this case have been together between five and more than 17 years. Three of the couples are raising children, others are planning families, and all want the responsibilities of marriage and the protections only marriage can provide.
- December 2005 Lambda Legal files marriage lawsuit in Iowa district court for Polk County; case will ultimately be decided by the Iowa Supreme Court.
- April 2006 Twenty-six state legislators represented by an antigay legal organization move to intervene in the case as defendants.
- August 2006 Court denies legislators’ application, ruling that none of the legislators had interests in the case sufficient for intervention.
- August 2006 Plaintiffs move to amend their petition in order to add three of their children as parties, among other amendments.
- September 2006 Defendant resisted plaintiffs’ motion to add the children as parties.
- November 2006 Defendant moves for summary judgment.
- December 2006 Court grants plaintiffs’ motion to amend, including plaintiffs’ motion to add three of their children as parties.
- January 2007 Plaintiffs file resistance to defendant’s motion for summary judgment and cross-moved for summary judgment as well. Plaintiffs also file affidavits from leading child development and other experts who explain the need for marriage rights for same-sex couples. In support of plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion, Iowa faith leaders, scholars and religious groups file friend-of-the-court brief as does the Iowa Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group of Iowa historians and law professors.
- March 2007 Defendant files reply brief.
- April 2007 Plaintiffs file reply brief.
- May 2007 Summary judgment hearing.
- August 2007 Victory! The Iowa District Court for Polk County rules in favor of equality!