Iowa court urged to throw out antigay suit
May 11 2004 12:00 AM ET
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with other local organizations, filed a brief on Monday asking the Iowa state supreme court to reject an attempt made by antigay groups to insert themselves into a case in which an Iowa district court granted two Sioux City women a request to terminate their civil union. "A judge, in his rightful authority, has addressed this matter," said Camilla Taylor, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest regional office. "Iowa courts consistently resolve matters between couples living together, regardless of the status of their relationship, whether married or not. A handful of legislators and others have tried to insinuate themselves into this particular case because this time it involves two lesbians. It's clear these groups don't like gay people, but that doesn't give them the right to interfere in other people's personal lives."
The two women filed papers to dissolve their civil union in August 2003. The judge in their case noted he was resolving a legal matter between a couple, as the state's courts routinely do. In February a group of state legislators, a congressman, and a northwestern Iowa church filed a petition to be heard by the Iowa supreme court. They have filed a lawsuit asserting that the judge in Woodbury County lacked authority to declare the rights of the two women and terminate their civil union, and have asked the state high court to hear their case.
Lambda Legal's brief, signed by the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Central Iowa, is urging the court to throw the case out. The brief argues that none of the parties involved in the challenge have legal standing to interfere in the case because they aren't harmed by the Woodbury County judge's decision. The brief also points out that Iowa law permits a court to terminate a civil union, so members of the couple can move on with certainty about their legal rights, plan financially, and start new families.