Three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were removed from office after they affirmed gay marriage in the state will be honored May 7 with the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Three former Iowa Supreme Court Justices who were part of a unanimous decision to legalize same-sex marriage in that state will be honored by Caroline Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Library Foundation, with the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™. Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and former justices David Baker and Michael Streit were chosen in recognition of the political courage and judicial independence each demonstrated in setting aside popular opinion to uphold the basic freedoms and security guaranteed to all citizens under the Iowa constitution.
Several national groups congratulated the justices on Friday:
BOSTON – Three years after the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision affirming the freedom to marry, three former justices ousted in a retention election following the ruling will receive the prestigious 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Monday, May 7. Caroline Kennedy will present the award to former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
“Former justices David Baker, Michael Streit, and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus showed tremendous courage when they joined a unanimous court in upholding the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples in Iowa, and, again, when they honored the bedrock American value of an independent judiciary by refraining from political campaigning even as they faced an unprecedented moneyed campaign mounted against the court by anti-marriage shell-groups,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. “These courageous justices have stood by their decision and fidelity to the constitutional guarantees they defended, even as Iowa’s voters have begun expressing buyers’ remorse over succumbing to the scare-tactic, special-interest campaign that rabbit-punched judges for doing their job .”
“Freedom to Marry honors the profile in courage set by these faithful judges, and applauds the Kennedy Foundation for recognizing the power of their example,” added Wolfson.
The award ceremony will take place at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Monday, May 7 from 11am to 12pm and will be webcast live. The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.
Same-sex couples in Iowa have been able to marry in Iowa since April 27, 2009. This year, Freedom to Marry partnered with One Iowa, the state’s leading LGBT organization, to launch a statewide public education campaign of neighbor-to-neighbor conversations about gay couples and their families in Iowa, and why marriage matters.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today commended the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices set to receive the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for their judicial independence. Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and former Justices David Baker and Michael Streit ruled in favor of marriage equality three years ago and, as a result, came under fire by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage during their retention elections. All three refused to mount a counter-campaign believing it would send the wrong message to litigants who may appear in court before them.
"Even with their jobs on the line, the justices stood firm for an independent judiciary," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "They put principle over politics, and are supremely deserving of this award. NOM should still be ashamed of themselves for running a campaign seeking revenge on these judges for making well-reasoned, constitutional arguments extending marriage equality."
During the last election cycle, all three justices lost their races. NOM's $600,000 campaign to oust them had nothing to do with marriage in the Hawkeye State – marriage for gay and lesbian couples remains legal there. Instead, NOM’s campaign was meant to send a chilling warning to judges across the country: rule the way we want you to or we will come after you.
On Monday, Caroline Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Library Foundation, will honor the justices with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The award is presented to public servants who have demonstrated the courage of their convictions "without regard for the personal or professional consequences." The ceremony will be webcast live at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast beginning at 11:00 a.m. on May 7.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2009 to allow committed gay and lesbian couples to marry. The deliberative decision was consistent with Supreme Court rulings in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.