LGBT rights in Iowa
|LGBT rights in Iowa|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1978
|Gender identity/expression||Protected (Employment, Housing, Schools)|
|Same-sex marriages performable and recognized in the state, civil unions and marriages performed in other jurisdictions recognized.|
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. Iowa began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on April 27, 2009 following a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, making Iowa the fourth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Recognition of same-sex marriage
Iowa has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2003.
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. Iowa marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples for the first time on April 27, 2009.
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.
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 following a campaign by groups opposed to same-sex marriage. 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.
Adoption and parenting
Joint adoptions by same-sex parents have been legal since a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2008. Iowa law allows individuals and married couples, regardless of sexual orientation, to adopt.
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. 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. 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".
Since 2007, Iowa has outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Iowa's hate crime law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.
On March 17, 2015, the Iowa Senate voted 26-24 to ban sexual orientation change efforts (conversion therapy) with minors. The bill is now under consideration by the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives.
- "Iowa Sodomy Law". Hrc.org. 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 10, 2011
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
- Des Moines Register: "Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman," April 4, 2009, accessed March 13, 2011
- 365Gay.com: "Iowa gay marriages delayed," April 7, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
- Iowa Independent: Jason Hancock, "Gronstal: No gay marriage vote in 2010," December 31, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
- Des Moines Register: "Iowans Dismiss Three Justices," November 3, 2010, accessed June 26, 2011
- NPR: "Gay Marriage Foes Back Push To Oust Iowa Justices," October 25, 2010, accessed June 26, 2011
- Des Moines Register: "Voters retain Justice David Wiggins," November 7, 2012, accessed November 13, 2012.
- 365Gay,com: "Iowa Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage ban," April 3, 2009, accessed June 26, 2011
- Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Adoption Law, accessed June 26, 2011
- Iowa District Court for Polk County, Buntemeyer v. Iowa DPH, December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012
- Danielson, Dar (December 12, 2012). "Supreme Court hears birth certificate case involving same-sex parents". Radio Iowa. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- Neuman, Scott (May 3, 2013). "Iowa Court: List Both Same-Sex Parents On Birth Certificates". NPR. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
- Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Non-Discrimination Law, accessed June 26, 2011
- Human Resources Campaign: Iowa Hate Crimes Law, accessed June 26, 2011
- "Iowa Senate votes to ban gay conversion therapy". The Des Moines Register. March 17, 2015.