One Iowa Celebrates Ten Years of Marriage Equality

Ten years ago today on April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided to uphold Iowa’s legacy of equality and make Iowa the third state in the nation to establish marriage equality (Varnum v. Brien). Six brave plaintiff couples and families raised their voices, shared their stories, and stood up to intense public scrutiny in order to advance equality for same-sex couples statewide. Varnum v. Brien was a watershed moment for the nationwide LGBTQ rights movement that proved marriage equality could be achieved not just on the coasts, but in the heartland as well.

“One Iowa was founded as a marriage equality organization in 2005, and Varnum v. Brien was an incredible victory not only for our organization, but LGBTQ people throughout the state,” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Milestones like this remind us that change is possible and worth pursuing. They also provide an opportunity to reflect on our community’s past, reminding us whose shoulders we stand on as we continue fighting for broad LGBTQ equality.”

We will never forget the Courageous Six and their contribution to LGBTQ equality in Iowa. We would not be where we are today without them, and I personally would not have had the privilege of marrying my husband Charles in 2010.”

Every year since 2010, One Iowa has hosted a Gala celebration to commemorate Varnum v. Brien and celebrate the Iowa LGBTQ community’s successes in the fight for full equality. This year, One Iowa host its 10th Annual Gala Celebration on Friday, April 12 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m. The event sold out over one month in advance, making it the largest Gala Celebration in the organization’s history with 1200 people expected to attend.

One Iowa’s 10th Gala Celebration will feature a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, live music from horn-centric soul, rhythm and blues band The Tighten Up, and an awards ceremony honoring the work Iowa’s LGBTQ advocates have accomplished this year. Award-winning journalist Sonya Heitsusen of WHO-TV Channel 13 News will emcee the program. This year’s awardees include:

  • Donna Red Wing Advocate of the Year Award: OC Pride (Orange City Pride organizers)
    • Previously known as the “Advocate of the Year” award and renamed this year to honor the late Donna Red Wing’s incredible legacy of LGBTQ advocacy, this award honors LGBTQ advocates whose work has been exceptionally impactful
  • Courageous 6 Award: EerieAnna Good and Carol Ann Beal, victorious plaintiffs in Good v. Iowa Dept. of Human Services, the Iowa Supreme Court case that overturned Iowa’s discriminatory Medicaid ban on transition-related surgery on March 8, 2019
    • Named for the six courageous plaintiff couples in Varnum v. Brien, this award honors individuals who share their stories and subject themselves to public scrutiny to advocate for themselves and LGBTQ Iowans
  • Sharon Malheiro Award: UnityPoint Health – Des Moines
    • Named after One Iowa’s founder, this award honors companies and organizations who have showcased a strong commitment to using their power to improve LGBTQ Iowans’ lives

The event’s proceeds will support One Iowa’s mission to preserve and advance LGBTQ equality in Iowa. Presenting sponsors of One Iowa’s 10th Annual Gala Celebration include Collins Aerospace, Dillenkoffer Endowment, Eddie & Sharilyn Mauro, Polk County Board of Supervisors, and Principal. Tickets are sold out, but individuals can make a donation in honor of this milestone anniversary here.