PFLAG Applauds Iowa Marriage Decision

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Ralls
April 3, 2009
(202) 467-8180, ext. 214 / sralls@pflag.org

PFLAG Applauds Iowa Marriage Decision
“Today, America’s Heart Can Truly Be Found in the Heartland,” says group

Des Moines, IA – In a landmark decision released earlier today, the Iowa
Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court ruling finding that the state
must recognize full marriage equality for same-sex couples. In a
unanimous ruling, the court’s justices found that to deny same-sex
couples access to marriage violates the Equal Protection clause of the
Iowa constitution. The court wrote that it was “firmly convinced the
exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil
marriage does not substantially further any important governmental
objective,” adding that, “The legislature has excluded a historically
disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution
without a constitutionally sufficient justification.”

“Today, America’s heart can truly be found in the heartland,” said Jody
M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). “At last, every family in Iowa will be
afforded the rights, protections and responsibilities that their
commitments deserve. Without a single page of dissent, the shepherds of
Iowa’s constitution have risen to the defense of loving couples and
upheld the most noble idea of our legal system: that, indeed, we are
created, and must be treated, equally under the law. We congratulate
our friends in Iowa, including our allies at One Iowa and Lambda Legal,
for this truly significant victory.”

Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to recognize marriage
equality, following similar victories in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
California voters rolled back a similar decision in November, and that
state’s high court is currently considering the fate of thousands of
couples who were legally married.

“Every family in Iowa can find solace and strength in this momentous
decision,” said Linda Trudeau, a member of PFLAG’s Ames, Iowa chapter
whose daughter, Shawna has been with her partner for nine years.
“Today, our state has honored our family, including my two beautiful
grandsons, by declaring that no family can be deemed ‘less than’ in the
eyes of the law. Eight years ago, my daughter was united, in her heart,
through a commitment ceremony with her partner. At last, they can be
united under the law, too. Our government can do nothing more powerful
than keep families together, and protect them under the law, and the
state of Iowa has now lived up to that promise for lesbian and gay
couples, too.”

According to The Williams Institute at the University of California-Los
Angeles, there are an estimated 5,200 same-sex couples currently living
in Iowa, nearly 20 percent of whom are raising children. Same-sex
couples, The Williams Institute has found, live in every county in the
state.

For more information on PFLAG’s efforts to promote marriage equality,
visit www.pflag.org.

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