Marriage Equality

Why Marriage Matters

Why Marriage Matters Iowa is a public education campaign to help spread the word about the importance of marriage equality here in Iowa by equipping supporters with the tools they need to share personal stories about why marriage matters to them.

Why Marriage Matters Iowa is a project of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide, and One Iowa, the nonprofit, nonpartisan community organization dedicated to ensuring that all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iowans experience equality.


Marriage Equality Granted via Court Decision

Varnum vs. Brien

In December, 2005, six Iowa couples represented by Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in Polk County District Court seeking the freedom to marry in Iowa. The lawsuit argued that that under the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Iowa Constitution it is unlawful to bar same-sex couples from marrying. As the case progressed, hundreds of Iowans including faith leaders, lawmakers, and social science experts, filed an additional 15 amicus briefs in support of the freedom to marry on behalf of the couples.

On August 30, 2007 an Iowa District Court judge ruled that denying gay couples marriage was unconstitutional. Twenty-four hours later, the judge issued a stay on his order; but in that time, 19 couples applied for marriage licenses and one couple actually married, remaining Iowa’s only legally married gay couple at that point.

On Friday, April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional. Read the decision.

Since 2009, there have been numerous attempts to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage in Iowa. One Iowa has vigilantly pushed back against these attacks. Because of the efforts of One Iowa and our coalition partners, the freedom to marry still exists in Iowa today.