Our mission is to support full equality for LGBT individuals living in Iowa through grassroots efforts and education. Formed in 2005, the organization has been an effective advocate for the community. In coalition with progressive and political allies, recent achievements include civil rights legislation to protect the LGBT community against employment and housing discrimination, safe schools legislation establishing anti-bullying policies in Iowa’s schools, and defeating anti-marriage legislation.
One Iowa works in partnership with Equality Federation, Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Iowa, the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and many more coalition partners to achieve our mission of full equality for LGBT Iowans.
Since our founding in 2005, we have traveled to communities large and small, rural and urban to talk about LGBT Iowans and the realities facing our families. We are introducing ourselves to everyday Iowans. We know that we can change hearts and minds when we share our families’ stories.
Through our grassroots Speakers Bureau program, House Party program and our One Iowa On-Campus work, we train LGBT people and allies to talk about their lives and why marriage matters to their friends, families and colleagues, while reaching out conflicted Iowans.
Beyond our work to increase support for marriage, we work to increase access to comprehensive and affordable health care for LGBT people, educate the public about Iowa’s notoriously strict HIV Criminalization law, and continue to partner with allies in creating safe environments for LGBT youth to learn and thrive.
As the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization we offer comprehensive programming that speaks to, with and for the Iowa’s LGBT communities. Our programming includes faith-based outreach, collaboration with communities of color, engaging with the business community, and hosting legal forums, educational roundtables, public lunch and learns, and other events. We are the “go-to” resource in Iowa for issues relating to LGBT equality.
THE ROUTE TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN IOWA
In 2005 six Iowa same sex couples represented by Lambda Legal filed suit against Polk County, claiming Iowa’s law denying civil marriage to same-sex couples violated the equal protection guarantees of the Iowa Constitution. In August of 2007, an Iowa District Court ruled in favor of the couples and the case was sent to the Iowa Supreme Court on appeal. On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, agreed with the lower court, clearing the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Iowa. On the evening of April 3, 2009 thousands of Iowans gathered across the state to celebrate the historic victory. Among the crowds and speeches, one phrase reverberated across Iowa: “Today, I’m so proud to be an Iowan!”
WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS IOWA
Immediately following the April 3, 2009 Supreme Court ruling, anti-equality opponents wasted no time trying to undermine the historic victory. No less than four attempts were made at the Iowa State Legislature to challenge the ruling. Through the work of One Iowa, the efforts of our allies and crucial support from fair-minded legislators, each of these attempts failed.
However, the struggle to maintain marriage equality is far from over. During the 2011 legislative session, we saw a renewed effort to repeal marriage equality with the passage of a marriage amendment through the House—HJR6.
In 2012, One Iowa launched a new public education initiative called Why Marriage Matters Iowa to shift the conversation from politics back to people. We are focused on having meaningful conversations in every corner of the state about the importance of marriage, love, commitment, and family and we are working with our supporters to give them the tools to take this conversation to their communities. Click here for more information: www.whymarriagemattersiowa.org
For media inquiries or help identifying local spokespeople, please contact our office by calling 515.288.4019.