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Jury finds Gov. Terry Branstad violated the state’s LGBTQ discrimination laws, awards former employee $1.5 million

Gov. Terry Branstad illegally discriminated against the former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey when he slashed Godfrey’s salary in 2011 in an attempt to force Godfrey to resign, a Polk County jury decided on Monday. The jury agreed with Godfrey that Branstad had singled him out because Godfrey is gay, and awarded him $1.5 million in damages.

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‘It rocked my world’: Catching up with the Grays, one of the first lesbian couples married in Iowa

Decades before Lois and Karen Gray became one of the first same-sex couples in Iowa to legally marry, they were Iowa farm girls, courting each other on the campus of Grand View College (now University) in Des Moines. In the mid-1980s, in fairly quick succession, the women became friends, then roommates, then girlfriends. This evolution […]

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A conversation with Kate and Trish Varnum, 10 years after Varnum v. Brien

Cedar Rapids couple Kate and Trish Varnum celebrate their 18th, 15th and 10th anniversaries this year: they’ve been together since 2001, had a religious marriage ceremony in 2004 and were legally married in 2009, after a landmark Iowa Supreme Court case that bore their name. Since the April 3, 2009 ruling in Varnum v. Brien, […]

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The BarbouRoskes, plaintiffs in Varnum v. Brien, reflect on Iowa’s fight for marriage equality

The day the Iowa Supreme Court announced they’d made a decision in Varnum v. Brien, the landmark case that would determine whether to legalize same-sex marriage in Iowa, Dawn and Jennifer BarbouRoskes’ two young daughters had covered their faces in temporary tattoos. “Jen’s at work and I’m scrubbing their faces,” Dawn recalled. “Bre had fallen […]

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How a divorce helped kick-start marriage equality in Iowa

The path to marriage equality in Iowa started with a divorce. Kimberly Brown and Jennifer Perez traveled from their home in western Iowa to Vermont in 2002 to be joined in a civil union, a substitute for traditional civic marriages Vermont created for same-sex couples in 2000. […]

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