Main | Thursday, April 03, 2014

Iowa Celebrates Five Years Of Marriage

Five years ago today the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution. Iowa then became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, but that right had been stripped in California by the time Iowa joined the list. Emboldened by the success of Proposition 8 and egged on by NOM, anti-gay hate groups launched a vicious campaign to undo same-sex marriage in Iowa from the moment the decision was handed down. The most notable victims of their campaign have been three members of the Iowa Supreme Court.
When Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker faced a retention election in November 2010, they met a backlash-fueled campaign, funded in part by out-of-state interest groups. A combined three decades of experience on the Iowa Supreme Court ended in a single day. The former justices have continued their careers as attorneys: Ternus is a lecturer and trial consultant in Des Moines, Streit is an arbitrator at the Des Moines firm of Ahlers & Cooney, and Baker is a mediator in Cedar Rapids. They also continue to stand up for judicial independence, as they did in 2012, when they received the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
In 2012 a fourth Iowa Supreme Court justice survived NOM's attempt to unseat him, but another three members of court face retention votes in 2016. Even five years after the ruling, Iowa's activists must remain vigilant.

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