Nine 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 incredible victory not only for our organization, but LGBTQ people throughout the state,” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “We’ve moved on to other important work, but One Iowa 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 9th Annual Gala Celebration on Friday, April 13 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. The organization projects over 800 people will attend the event, making it the largest Gala celebration in the organization’s history.
One Iowa’s 9th Gala Celebration will feature a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, live music by the Freddy Gazzo Band, and an awards ceremony honoring the work Iowa’s LGBTQ activists have accomplished this year. Award-winning journalist Sonya Heitsusen of WHO-TV Channel 13 News will emcee the program. This year’s awardees include:
Veridian Credit Union, one of Iowa’s largest credit unions
Sophia Stone, president of Transformations Iowa, a support group for transgender and non-binary Iowans.
Jane Meyer and Tracey Griesbaum, plaintiffs in landmark discrimination lawsuits against the University of Iowa, resulting in external review of the university’s employment practices
The event’s proceeds will support One Iowa’s mission to preserve and advance LGBTQ equality in Iowa through grassroots efforts and education. The sponsors of One Iowa’s 9th Annual Gala Celebration include Principal, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Human Rights Campaign, Meredith Corporation, Rockwell Collins, and Veridian Credit Union among others. Tickets may be purchased online here.
One Iowa is working toward equality for LGBTQ individuals through grassroots efforts, education and advocacy.