Iowa Ends Gay Couples' Exclusion From Marriage

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Evan Wolfson,Executive Director, Freedom to Marry
212-851-8418; Mobile: 646-263-5552
evan@freedomtomarry.org

Iowa Ends Gay Couples' Exclusion From Marriage

Iowa Joins Connecticut and Massachusetts as the Next State to Uphold the Freedom to Marry

NEW YORK - The Iowa Supreme Court today handed down a unanimous decision in favor
of the freedom to marry, bringing marriage equality to America's heartland.  Iowa now joins Massachusetts
and Connecticut
in ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.  The high court
decision in Varnum v. Brien
states, "Society benefits, for example, from providing same-sex couples a
stable framework within which to raise their children and the power to make
health care and end-of-life decisions for loved ones, just as it does when that
framework is provided for opposite-sex couples."

"There's a rainbow over Iowa
today, and marriage equality has come to America's
heartland," said Evan Wolfson,
executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America,
Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry
.  "The Iowa
Supreme Court's unanimous willingness to do its job faithfully will give
Americans yet another opportunity to experience what they've already
begun to see in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, South Africa, and much
of Europe-the lived reality that ending exclusion from marriage helps
families and harms no one."  

The Iowa Supreme Court is the fourth state high court to uphold the
freedom to marry under the state constitution.  The Court continued Iowa's history of
leadership in civil rights, which includes being among the first to eliminate
the ban on interracial marriages, recognize the rights of married women, and
desegregate schools.  

"Thanks
to this unanimous ruling, more committed couples and their kids will have their
families strengthened and their lives enriched, without taking anything away
from anyone else," Wolfson said.  "Iowa showed the nation today that there
is enough marriage for all of us to share."

Freedom
to Marry salutes the leadership of Lambda Legal, who represented six same-sex
couples in this case, and One Iowa, which has brought together a gay and
non-gay coalition to build support for marriage equality in Iowa.  To celebrate this momentous day
in Iowa, join
One Iowa for rallies across the state: http://www.oneiowa.org/web/

Momentum for the freedom to marry continues across the
nation.  Vermont's
Senate last night joined the House in overwhelmingly voting for a bill to end
marriage discrimination, which now goes to the governor.  New Hampshire's
House of Representatives passed a marriage bill in March, which
now awaits a vote in the Senate.  Maine's
legislature will hold hearings  this month on
a marriage bill, and the California Supreme Court  is weighing a
challenge to the discriminatory Proposition 8, brought by a broad array
of civil rights and other groups.  

Freedom to
Marry wrote an amicus brief in the Varnum v.
Brien
case which can be viewed here: http://data.lambdalegal.org/pdf/legal/varnum/freedom-to-marry-iowa-supreme-court-amicus-brief.pdf

Read
Online: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/press_center/iowa_victory.php

Read the
Decision: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pdfs/iowa_07-1499.pdf

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Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.

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