Iowa celebrates fourth anniversary of landmark freedom to marry ruling

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Iowa State Supreme Court ruling in Varnum v. Brian that same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry across the state of Iowa. The Court ruled unanimously in the decision, explaining that excluding gay and lesbian couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. The case was brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of six committed same-sex couples

The ruling read, "Society benefits, for example, from providing same-sex couples a stable framework within which to raise their children and the power to make health care and end-of-life decisions for loved ones, just as it does when that framework is provided for opposite-sex couples." 

In four years, roughly 6,000 couples have tied the knot in Iowa, according to estimates from One Iowa, the statewide LGBT organization that helped move marriage forward - and continued to successfully defend the freedom to marry in subsequent years when it came under attack from marriage opponents.

Some of these couples include Casey & Eric from Minnesota, who traveled to the nation's heartland in order to exchange vows last year, and Cathy & Catriona from Colorado, who need the protections of marriage for their relationship and their three children.

At the time of the ruling, Freedom to Marry President and Founder Evan Wolfson explained the event's significance. He said:

The Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous willingness to do its job faithfully will give Americans yet another opportunity to experience what they've already begun to see in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, South Africa, and much of Europe-the lived reality that ending exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one.

Read more about the freedom to marry in Iowa HERE.