One Iowa celebrates eight years of marriage equality

DES MOINES — Eight years ago today on April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided to uphold Iowa’s legacy of equality and make Iowa the third state in the nation to establish marriage equality (Varnum v. Brien). Six brave plaintiff couples and families raised their voices, shared their stories, and stood up to intense public scrutiny in order to advance equality for same-sex couples statewide. Varnum v. Brien was a watershed moment for the nationwide LGBTQ rights movement that proved marriage equality could be achieved not just on the coasts, but in the heartland as well.

“One Iowa was founded as a marriage equality organization in 2005, and Varnum v. Brien was an amazing victory not only for our organization, but LGBTQ people throughout the state,” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Our organization has moved on to other battles, but we will never forget the Courageous Six and their contribution to LGBTQ equality in Iowa. We would not be where we are today without them, and I personally would not have had the privilege of marrying my husband Charles in 2010.”

Every year since 2010, One Iowa has hosted a Gala celebration to commemorate Varnum v. Brien and celebrate the Iowa LGBTQ community’s successes in the fight for full equality. This year, One Iowa will host its 8th Annual Gala Celebration on Friday, April 7 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Over 600 people will attend the event, making it the largest Gala celebration in the organization’s history.

One Iowa’s 8th Annual Gala Celebration will include cocktail hour, live music courtesy of The Freddy Gazzo Band, dinner, a silent auction, a live auction hosted by Miss Glam Iowa USofA Madison Cavalier, and an awards ceremony honoring the work Iowa’s advocates for LGBTQ equality have accomplished this year. Award-winning journalist Sonya Heitshusen of WHO TV Channel 13 News will emcee the program. This year’s awardees include:

  • Liz Bennett, the first out LGBTQ woman to serve in the Iowa Legislature
  • Frederique Boudouani, an openly gay Muslim man in Elkader, Iowa who shared his story in a viral Upworthy video
  • Wellmark, Iowa’s leading health insurance company

All proceeds from the event will support One Iowa’s mission to preserve and advance LGBTQ equality in Iowa through grassroots efforts, advocacy and education. One Iowa’s 8th Annual Gala Celebration sponsors include Principal, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Wellmark and Veridian Credit Union among others.

via press release