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- DescriptionWe've been together in sickness and in health, through the death of his mother, through the adoption of our children, through four long years of this legal battle, Jason Morgan told reporters of himself and his partner, Chuck Swaggerty. And if being together through all of that isn't love and commitment or isn't family or isn't marriage, then I don't kw what is. Just minutes earlier on that day, April 3, 2009, the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court had agreed. The court's decision in Varnum v. Brien made Iowa only the third state in the nation to permit same-sex couples to wed-moderate, midwestern Iowa, years before such left-leaning coastal states as California and New York. And unlike the earlier decisions in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Varnum v. Brien was unanimous and unequivocal. It catalyzed the unprecedented and rapid shift in law and public opinion that continues today. Equal Before the Law tells the stories behind this critical battle in the fight for marriage equality and traces the decision's impact. The struggle began in 1998 with the easy passage of Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act and took a turn, surprising to many, in 2005, when six ordinary Iowa couples signed on to Lambda Legal's suit against the law. Their triumph in 2009 sparked a conservative backlash against the supreme court justices, three of whom faced tough retention elections that fall. Longtime, award-winning reporters Tom Witosky and Marc Hansen talked with and researched dozens of key figures, including opponent Bob Vander Plaats, proponents Janelle Rettig and Sharon Malheiro, attorneys Roger Kuhle, Dennis Johnson, and Camilla Taylor, and politicians Matt McCoy, Mary Lundby, and Tom Vilsack, who had to weigh their careers against their convictions. Justice Mark Cady, who wrote the decision, explains why the court had to rule in favor of the plaintiffs. At the center of the story are the six couples who sacrificed their privacy to demand public respect for their families. Through these voices, Witosky and Hansen show that one should have been surprised by the 2009 decision. Iowans have a long history of leadership on civil rights. Just a year after Iowa became a state, its citizens adopted as their motto the phrase, Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain. And they still do today.
- Author BiographyFor thirty-three years, Tom Witosky covered Iowa politics, law, business, and sports for the Des Moines Register, reporting many major stories and gaining a reputation for innovative investigative journalism. One of the first investigative sports reporters in the country, he made sports news a regular front-page feature both at home and nationally. Marc Hansen spent over thirty years writing sports, metro, and feature-page columns for the Des Moines Register, often posting the paper's highest readership numbers and winning numerous awards.
- Author(s)Tom Witosky
- PublisherUniversity of Iowa Press
- Date of Publication30/06/2015
- SubjectNational Law: Professional
- Series TitleIowa and the Midwest Experience
- Place of PublicationIowa
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Iowa Press
- Content Note20 photographs
- Weight440 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine19 mm
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