by Donna Red Wing, One Iowa Executive Director.
“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
Thursday night, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ended its national ban on gay youth by a majority vote of its 1400-member National Council in a secret ballot. This is the first time in the organization’s history that the BSA has welcomed openly gay youth. Yet the new policy—which will go into effect January 2014—would still bar gay Scout leaders.
For years the Girls Scouts, 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Camp Fire Boys and Girls have been inclusive. Gays and lesbians can now serve openly and proudly in the United States military. Twelve states celebrate marriage equality. The world is changing. It’s time for the BSA to change as well. Continue reading →
Iowa Fair Courts Coalition applauds Sri Srinivasan’s confirmation to U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit
The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition (IFCC) applauds the confirmation of Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Currently the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, Srinivasan clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He has worked with both Republican and Democratic administrations and enjoys bipartisan support. Today’s confirmation, in a unanimous 97-0 vote, makes Srinivasan the first South Asian to serve as a federal circuit court judge. Before his unanimous approval last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which moved him to a full Senate vote, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said that Srinivasan was “a talented attorney” who embodied “the correct judicial temperament.” Continue reading →
Now that the Iowa Legislature has officially adjourned (on May 23), we wanted to share a 2013 legislative recap.
We saw the introduction of a number of troubling amendments in the Iowa House and Senate this year, including the outlandish House File 120, which would reduce the pay of Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in the unanimous 2009 Varnum v. Brien decision that extended the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples in the state. This amendment failed. Continue reading →
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One Iowa Congratulates Minnesota in Historic Victory for Marriage Equality “We proudly congratulate our neighbors to the north,” says One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing
Today, the Minnesota Senate voted 37-30 to extend the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples. Last Thursday, the Minnesota House voted 75-59 to approve a similar bill with bipartisan support. Minnesota is the third state to pass marriage in a week, following Rhode Island and Delaware. The following is a statement from One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing:
“The great state of Minnesota joins Iowa and many others today by extending the freedom to marry to loving, committed gay and lesbian couples. Minnesota joins Iowa as only the second state to extend the freedom to marry in the Midwest, and the 12th nationwide. Continue reading →
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on May 3 that the state must recognize children born to lesbian couples as having two parents on their birth certificate, ensuring full parental rights for both parents and equal treatment for gay and heterosexual couples. Continue reading →
DES MOINES — Gay rights advocates say the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling Friday on the side of a lesbian couple from Des Moines should “shut the door” on any further legal controversy over same-sex marriage in the state.
“I appreciate this issue has been part of the political debate, and I expect it may continue to be,” said Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal who represented MacKenzie Gartner and her married parents, Heather Martin Gartner and Melissa Gartner. “Legally, this court came down on the side of equality.”
The Gartners sued the Department of Public Health after the department refused to issue a birth certificate for MacKenzie that had both Heather and Melissa as parents, even though the couple was legally married at the time of MacKenzie’s birth.
In a 6-0 ruling written by Justice David Wiggins, the court held that excluding both parents from the birth certificate was a violation of the equal protection clause under the Iowa Constitution.
The court dismissed the Department of Public Health’s arguments that birth certificates need to reflect who the biological parents of a child are in order to keep accurate records for medical purposes. Continue reading →
The Iowa Supreme Court expanded on its landmark 2009 decision legalizing same-sex marriage last week by requiring a child’s birth certificate to include both parents’ names.
“These realities demonstrate that the disparate treatment of married lesbian couples is less effective and efficient, and that some other unarticulated reason, such as stereotype or prejudice, may explain the real objective of the state,” Justice David Wiggins wrote in the decision.
The Gartner v. Iowa Department of Public Health decision changes the previous stance of the state Health Department, which refused to issue birth certificates listing both parents in a lesbian marriage. The decision asked a lower district court to remove a temporary stoppage of requests to add names to certificates — formally providing a route to change the policy.
“We’re thrilled with the decision today, and once again, the Iowa Supreme Court guaranteed equal rights for all Iowans,” said Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal and lead attorney for the Gartners. “The court said we meant what we said in Varnum. Equal is equal.” Continue reading →
IOWA CITY, Iowa – A group of University of Iowa students are attempting to break the record for longest group hug. The current record stands at 25 hours and 10 minutes. The group of eight students started hugging around noon on Friday.
“It took a lot of research and planning,” said Zach Heffernen, who organized the hug. “Everyone has to stay together.”
Heffernen is the president of UI’s Students for Human Rights organization. Huggers helped raise money for the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa to participate.
To succeed they’ll need to remain latched until shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday. Huggers are allowed five minute breaks every hour.
Eight University of Iowa students hope their public display of affection lands them in the history books.
They’re attempting to break the Guinness World Record for longest marathon group hug, which currently sits at 25 hours, zero minutes and 10 seconds. The huggers, gathered in two groups of four in the Iowa Memorial Union’s Main Lounge, kicked off their hug at 11:44 a.m. Friday, which means they’ll need to hold onto one another into Saturday afternoon.
Leila Mustafa, a UI sophomore studying sociology, said from her spot in the huddle Friday afternoon that 25 hours seems like a long time, but it’ll probably seem even longer by 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
“Those seven hours will be terrible,” she said.
The participants are collecting pledges for their mission, with proceeds going toward One Iowa, an activist group that supports LGBT equality in the state through grassroots efforts and education. The huggers collected donations before the hug began, with some working off pledges that increase as time progresses and additional donations will be collected throughout the event.
By Friday afternoon, the group had raised more than $1,000, said Zach Heffernen, president of Students for Human Rights and the event’s organizer.
To comply with Guinness’ regulations, the entire hug will be filmed. The event also will have two timekeepers and two witnesses.
“It’s pretty official,” Heffernen said, pointing to the red bowtie adhered to the neckline of his collared shirt as proof.
In accordance with the rules, each participant accumulates one five-minute break for every hour they spend hugging, Heffernen said. Those going for the non-marathon hug record, by contrast, do not get breaks under Guinness rules, he said. Continue reading →