LGBT rights in Iowa

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LGBT rights in Iowa
Iowa (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1978
(Legislative repeal)
Gender identity/expression -
Discrimination protections Yes
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Same-sex marriages performable and recognized in the state, civil unions and marriages performed in other jurisdictions recognized.
Restrictions:
No
Adoption Yes

The establishment of LGBT rights in the U.S. state of Iowa is a recent phenomenon, with most advances in LGBT rights taking place since 2007. It is one of nineteen states, along with the District of Columbia, that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

The state's law criminalizing same-sex sexual activity was repealed in 1978.[1][2]

Recognition of same-sex marriage[edit]

Iowa has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2003.[3]

Iowa has allowed for state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in and out of the state since April 3, 2009, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld a ruling by the Polk County District Court in Varnum v. Brien which effectively forced the state to rescind any outstanding discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to have their marriages recognized and licensed under state law.[4] Iowa marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples for the first time on April 27, 2009.[5]

In response to the decision, several attempts to amend the state constitution, either by presenting a ballot initiative before the voters or calling a state constitutional convention, to ban same-sex marriage have failed.[6]

Three of the Iowa Supreme Court justices who participated in Varnum were removed from office as the result of judicial retention elections in November 2010[7] following a campaign by groups opposed to same-sex marriage.[8] However, in November 2012 a fourth member of the Iowa Supreme Court that participated in Varnum was retained after vigorous campaigning by groups opposed to same-sex marriage and groups supporting same-sex marriage and judicial independence.[9]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Joint adoptions by same-sex parents have been legal since a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2008.[10] Iowa law allows individuals and married couples, regardless of sexual orientation, to adopt.[11]

On December 12, 2012, ruling in Buntemeyer v. Iowa DPH, a state court ordered the Iowa Department of Public Health to list the names of two women, a married lesbian couple, on the death certificate of their stillborn son.[12] The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments that same day in the department's appeal of a decision in Gartner v. Newton that ordered it to enter the names of two women as parents on a birth certificate.[13] On May 3, 2013, the court unanimously affirmed the lower court's ruling in Gartner and said that "By naming the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple's child, the child is ensured support from that parent and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth".[14]

Discrimination protection[edit]

Since 2007, Iowa has outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.[15]

Hate crime[edit]

Iowa's hate crime law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iowa Sodomy Law". Hrc.org. 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  2. ^ William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 10, 2011
  3. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  4. ^ Des Moines Register: "Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman," April 4, 2009, accessed March 13, 2011
  5. ^ 365Gay.com: "Iowa gay marriages delayed," April 7, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
  6. ^ Iowa Independent: Jason Hancock, "Gronstal: No gay marriage vote in 2010," December 31, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
  7. ^ Des Moines Register: "Iowans Dismiss Three Justices," November 3, 2010, accessed June 26, 2011
  8. ^ NPR: "Gay Marriage Foes Back Push To Oust Iowa Justices," October 25, 2010, accessed June 26, 2011
  9. ^ Des Moines Register: "Voters retain Justice David Wiggins," November 7, 2012, accessed November 13, 2012.
  10. ^ 365Gay,com: "Iowa Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage ban," April 3, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
  11. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Adoption Law, accessed June 26, 2011
  12. ^ Iowa District Court for Polk County, Buntemeyer v. Iowa DPH, December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012
  13. ^ Danielson, Dar (December 12, 2012). "Supreme Court hears birth certificate case involving same-sex parents". Radio Iowa. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ Neuman, Scott (May 3, 2013). "Iowa Court: List Both Same-Sex Parents On Birth Certificates". NPR. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  15. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Non-Discrimination Law, accessed June 26, 2011
  16. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Hate Crimes Law, accessed June 26, 2011