For Immediate Release
April 3, 2009
Contact: Jean-Marie Navetta | (202) 467-8180, ext. 213 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PFLAG Applauds Iowa Marriage Decision
“Today, America’s Heart Can Truly Be Found in the Heartland,” says group
Des Moines, IA – In a landmark decision released earlier today, the Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court ruling finding that the state must recognize full marriage equality for same-sex couples. In a unanimous ruling, the court’s justices found that to deny same-sex couples access to marriage violates the Equal Protection clause of the Iowa constitution. The court wrote that it was “firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” adding that, “The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification.”
“Today, America’s heart can truly be found in the heartland,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). “At last, every family in Iowa will be afforded the rights, protections and responsibilities that their commitments deserve. Without a single page of dissent, the shepherds of Iowa’s constitution have risen to the defense of loving couples and upheld the most noble idea of our legal system: that, indeed, we are created, and must be treated, equally under the law. We congratulate our friends in Iowa, including our allies at One Iowa and Lambda Legal, for this truly significant victory.”
Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to recognize marriage equality, following similar victories in Massachusetts and Connecticut. California voters rolled back a similar decision in November, and that state’s high court is currently considering the fate of thousands of couples who were legally married.
“Every family in Iowa can find solace and strength in this momentous decision,” said Linda Trudeau, a member of PFLAG’s Ames, Iowa chapter whose daughter, Shawna has been with her partner for nine years. “Today, our state has honored our family, including my two beautiful grandsons, by declaring that no family can be deemed ‘less than’ in the eyes of the law. Eight years ago, my daughter was united, in her heart, through a commitment ceremony with her partner. At last, they can be united under the law, too. Our government can do nothing more powerful than keep families together, and protect them under the law, and the state of Iowa has now lived up to that promise for lesbian and gay couples, too.”
According to The Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, there are an estimated 5,200 same-sex couples currently living in Iowa, nearly 20 percent of whom are raising children. Same-sex couples, The Williams Institute has found, live in every county in the state.
For more information on PFLAG’s efforts to promote marriage equality, visit www.pflag.org.
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PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.