Iowa Judges Ousted by Homophobes Get JFK Courage Award

Three former Iowa judges who struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage are being honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, CBS News reports. Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of John F. Kennedy, will celebrate what would have been her father’s 95th birthday by presenting the JFK Profile in Courage Award to former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and justices David Baker and Michael Streit.

In April 2009, Ternus, Baker and Streit led the Iowa Supreme Court to a unanimous decision legalizing marriage equality. They ruled that a state law restricting marriage to straight couples violated Iowa’s equal protection clause. The following year, marriage equality opponents raised approximately $1 million for a campaign that successfully ousted the trio.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Kennedy praised the judges for their stance to uphold the Iowa constitution despite this opposition.

“[They] knew when they were writing this decision that it was gonna be a pioneering decision and a landmark decision and would face a lot of popular opposition,” Kennedy said. “They also were following very carefully the Iowa constitution and the rights that it gives to its citizens.”

Ternus, Baker and Streit did not fight the 2010 efforts against them because they didn’t want to politicize the judiciary, another move lauded by Kennedy. She cautioned that bipartisan attacks and heavy campaign spending could taint the independence of the judiciary on both state and national levels.

“[We're seeing] increased amounts of money in legislative races, now we are getting to see it in the judiciary where it has a much more dangerous effect because those are not supposed to be politicized races,” Kennedy said.

“[The former judges are] courageous on many levels,” Kennedy added. “…Like many of the people who get this award, they don’t consider that they are doing anything particularly courageous, they just feel they’re doing what’s right, they’re doing their job.”


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Photo credit: Clearly Ambiguous (Creative Commons Attribution License)


Juanita Gilboricard
Juanita Ricard6 years ago

It is not religion that we should be pursining-it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we need. There is a difference in religion and Christianity. Religion is man trying to be good enough for God or kicking Him out. Christianity is God reaching down to man and drawing them to Himself and giving them the best there is-His fellowship and His love.

Juanita Gilboricard
Juanita Ricard6 years ago

Kennedy would be so disappointed. He did not believe in murdering unborn babies. The Bible teaches that abortion is murder. And one using good common sense can see that an unborn baby is a living being worthy of life. If you abort unborn dogs or cats you go to jail. And so you should if you abort an unborn baby. Alot of people no longer value life. God values life. he says we are the apple of His Eye. He made us to have pleasure and joy with Him. Murderers will not enter Heaven. They must change their lifestyle.

Ira L.
Ellie L6 years ago

With God's help, President Obama will be reelected along with a Democratic congress and will be able to nominate judges like these to the Supreme Court. Move America Forward! Obama 2012!

Robert Tedders
Robert T6 years ago

Nice job guys!!

Carl Oerke
Carl O6 years ago

The Iowa judges deserve the award and our praise and thanks for takling a stand to ensure the same rights are enjoyed by all. It is unfortunate that their strength, courage and vision made them targets of the ignorant and short sighted. The judges deserve our repsect for their decsion. Good bless them.

Dieter Riedel
Dieter R6 years ago

Sadly it seems to be a minority nowadays...

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

Thank you for doing the right thing! You deserve this award!

Mitch D.
Mitch D6 years ago

I also stand with those judges!.... did what was right and fair!

Pamela T.
Pamela Tracy6 years ago

I do believe marriage should not be an issue in any presidential race...we need a separation of church and state....too many religious leaders influencing presidents....I am not for wild fanatic anyones....however....if people want to enter into marriage of same sex...let them see exactly that it is no different...the same problems occur in their marriages as do in our marriages....what is important is for each person to try to make their marriages work outside of religion and the state by being good partners and families....religion likes to say nothing works without them...that is not the truth....we all should endeavor to be good in our marriages.....with or without religion...too much hand in hand we need more separation of church and state.

Karen and Ed O.
Karen and Ed O6 years ago

Obama has a possible SCOTUS justice nomination coming up, and here are three good candidates. Congratulations Judges Ternus, Baker and Streit, you are a major breath of fresh air in this smoggy haze of right-wing extremism.