The Iowa Supreme Court declared that a 1998 Iowa statute limiting marriage to
a man and a woman was unconstitutional in a decision released today. Lawyers
from McGuireWoods’ Chicago office co-authored a friend-of-the court brief, also
known as an amicus brief, on behalf of six same-sex couples who want the right
to legally marry in Iowa in the case Varnum v. Brien, argued before the
Iowa Supreme Court last December.
McGuireWoods partners, Jeff Torres and Richard Greenberg, and associates Yuan-Ying
Hsu and Sarah Schwartz, assisted a number of nationally-recognized law professors in
filing an amicus brief on behalf of the six couples, who were denied marriage
licenses in Polk County, Iowa, and filed their lawsuit after being informed that
only heterosexual couples could receive marriage licenses under Iowa state law.
In December 2005, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit with
the Polk County Court on behalf of the six same-sex couples. In the case, Lambda
Legal argued that denying marriage to same-sex couples violated the liberty and
equality guarantees in the Iowa State Constitution.
The amicus brief argued that the Iowa Supreme Court should uphold the
district court’s August 2007 ruling in favor of the couples holding that denying
marriage licenses to same-sex couples was unconstitutional under Iowa law.
McGuireWoods lawyers argued that the district court properly relied on social
science evidence to rebut the State of Iowa’s claim that children raised by
same-sex parents have serious emotional, intellectual, or social development
problems simply because of their parents’ sexual orientation, or because they do
not have both a male and female parent.
Torres and Greenberg are both members of McGuireWoods Diversity Committee.
Torres was recently appointed to the Lambda’s National Leadership Circle, the
primary advisory board of Lambda Legal.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full
recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender
people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy