Iowa Justices Honored: Profiles in Courage

Marsha Ternus, former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, is one of three Iowa judges being honored today.

The Des Moines Register reports that three judges who were booted from Iowa’s Supreme Court in 2010 will be presented with the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award today by Kennedy’s daughter Caroline.  The three judges “were among seven justices who unanimously decided in 2009 that an Iowa law restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the state’s constitution,” according to the DMR, and include Marsha Ternus, who was the court’s Chief Justice.  After the court legalized same-sex marriage, conservative groups rode into Iowa and threw close to $1 million into a campaign that succeeded in unseating the judges.  The Register quotes Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg as saying, ““Like many of the people who get this award, they don’t consider that they are doing anything particularly courageous, they just feel they’re doing what’s right, they’re doing their job.”

Former Chief Justice Ternus had a few well-chosen words of her own for anti-marriage-equality and other conservative groups. “If these organizations are really worried about marriage, rather than being motivated by bigotry and hatred, then they would be going after the divorce laws,” she told the New York Times’s Frank Bruni, as he reported in his column on Saturday.  “But they’re not.”

More good news from Iowa; Same-sex parents win lawsuit!

Melissa Gartner, and Heather Gartner of Des Moins, Iowa had a beautiful baby girl in 2009. However the state would not list Melissa and Heather on the birth certificate of their daughter Mackenzie. Earlier that year the Iowa Supreme Court decided to legalize same-sex marriages, and same-sex marriages must be given the “full access to the institution of marriage,”. So they sued, and Wednesday Polk County District Judge Eliza Ovrom ruled in favor of the mothers ordering the Iowa Department of Public Health to issue Mackenzie a new birth certificate and include the names of both her mothers.

The Des Moins Register reports:

Ovrom’s 12-page ruling stops short of declaring a constitutional right for same-sex parents to be named automatically on newborns’ birth certificates. But it faults state officials for failing to correctly interpret older Iowa laws in light of the April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriages.

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