December 22, 2014

Same-sex couples in Iowa celebrate U.S. Supreme Court actions

Same-sex couples in Iowa are celebrating today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” — saying the law “demeans” same-sex couples.

It means same-sex couples are entitled to file  federal tax returns as a married couple and get Social Security survivor benefits if their spouse dies. Dawn BarbouRoske of Iowa City could hardly speak through her tears after learning of the decision.

“It gives whole new respect to our family and we’re just thrilled,” she told Radio Iowa, her voice cracking.

BarbouRoske has been with her lesbian partner for 23 years and got married in Iowa in 2009 — after the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for same-sex couples to legally marry here.

“We were part of the Iowa case and, you know, it’s just that feeling all over again of: ‘We won!'” BarbouRoske said.

BarbouRoske and her wife have two children, one of whom was cited in the “Children’s Voices” brief that was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to argue for overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

“You know, this just means the world to us,” BarbouRoske said.

BarbouRoske called today’s ruling “a historic moment” for same-sex couples.

“First and foremost, it’s recognition of our relationship,” BarbouRoske said.

The U.S. Supreme Court today also took action on a separate case, meaning same-sex marriages can resume in California. Same-sex marriage advocates in Iowa have scheduled events early this evening in seven Iowa cities to celebrate today’s rulings.

There will be a rally in Des Moines at 6 p.m. on the west terrace of the Iowa State Capitol building as well as events in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Davenport, Ames, Mason City and Sioux City.