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Same-Sex Couples’ Marriage Victory in Iowa a Win for Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic

Clinic filed a brief in the Iowa Supreme Court case

Media contact: Sonia von Gutfeld 212-854-1453 sgutfe@law.columbia.edu
Public Affairs Office 212-854-2650 publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

New York, April 3, 2009 — The Iowa Supreme Court ruled today that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional. Contributing to this landmark case, the Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic submitted an amicus brief in the case, Varnum v. Brien, almost one year ago to the day (March 28, 2008) on behalf of several Iowa constitutional law professors.  

“This is a tremendous victory for gay and lesbian couples and for all who care about equality,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, clinical professor and director of the Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic. “The Court recognized that the state’s equality guarantee cannot tolerate having rules that single out gay couples and exclude them from marriage.” 

Although the Court did not take up the Clinic’s invitation to adopt a balancing approach to all state-sponsored line-drawing, the Court wrote that “a more flexible analysis is arguably more reflective of Iowa’s constitutional equality mandates.” The Court also indicated that it may take up the balancing approach in a future case.
 
Columbia Law School Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic students Katie Harris, Sarah Hinger, Sadie Holzman, and Keren Zwick wrote the brief together with Professor Goldberg. David Goldman of Babich, Goldman, Cashatt, & Renzo, P.C., in Des Moines, Iowa, is local counsel on the Clinic’s brief.  Lambda Legal represents the couples who brought the case. 
 
To contact Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg: Call (212) 854- 0411 or email suzanne.goldberg@law.columbia.edu.
                                                                        
Columbia Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic addresses cutting edge issues in sexuality and gender law through litigation, legislation, public policy analysis and other forms of advocacy.
 
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