Same sex couples celebrate one year anniversary - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Same sex couples celebrate one year anniversary

KWWL (IOWA CITY)-- Same sex couples across the state of Iowa are celebrating a year of equal marriage rights. They're also remembering the fight to reach this point.

"I cannot believe it's been a year, it's gone by so fast," Carolyn Jenison, Executive Director of One Iowa said.

In a movement started in California in 2004, some county recorders began giving out marriage licenses to same sex couples as an act of civil disobedience.

Johnson County recorder Kim Painter remembers when she refused licenses to a mass group of 52 same sex couples soon after.

She believes even though they were denied, it was a crucial step.

"Those couples told their stories and it began, I'd like to think, the conversation about marriage equality here in Iowa," Painter said.

In 2007, Jen and Dawn BarbouRouske were one of six plaintiffs to file suit against the Polk County recorder for refusing marriage licenses.

The district court determined a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under the state's due process and equal protection clauses.

The judgment was appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, and in the moments leading up to the ruling on April 3rd, 2009, Jen BarbouRoske remembers her uneasiness.

We walked in the room, sat down, and I believe everyone else in the room knew what the verdict was and everyone was poker-faced, and we walked in and Camilla Taylor announced, we won.

Since then, several efforts have tried to overturn the ruling.  Many continue to argue marriage should only exist between man and woman.

"We believe most Iowans agree with us that we the people of Iowa should determine the definition of marriage, not seven unelected judges and not a couple of leaders in the legislature who are keeping it from the people of Iowa," Matt Reisetter of the Iowa Family Policy Center said.

For same sex advocates, a year later marks progress, and the need to continue the fight for the cause that was nictitated years ago.


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