WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded the Iowa state Supreme Court's unanimous 7-0 decision ruling that the equal protection provision of Iowa Constitution guarantees gay and lesbian couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. As a result of the court's decision in Varnum v. Brien, Iowa becomes the first state in the Midwest and the third in the nation to now recognize marriages for gay and lesbian couples.
"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," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "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 nation."
"We congratulate and commend Lambda Legal, the numerous organizations and individuals who briefed the Supreme Court, and, of course, the courageous plaintiff couples and their families who looked to the courts to vindicate their rights," said Solmonese. "We also thank One Iowa for their hard work across the state to ensure that gay and lesbian couples and their families receive the recognition that they rightfully deserve."
Speaking for the unanimous court, Justice Mark S. Cady wrote that '[w]e are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective." The court rejected the possibility that civil unions — or any institution other than civil marriage — could satisfy the guarantees of the state constitution. Key results from the ruling: