Iowa Judges who Legalized Marriage Equality to Receive JFK Profile in Courage Awards

BOSTON, MA – Three members of the Iowa Supreme Court who voted to legalize marriage equality have been selected to receive the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and former justices David Baker and Michael Streit joined a unanimous 2009 decision that struck down the Hawkeye State’s ban on gay marriage.

The ruling caused outrage among the state’s political and religious conservatives, and a campaign, supported by future Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, was initiated and succeeded in voting the judges out of office the following year.

Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of America’s 35th President and the CEO of the foundation named in his honor, applauded the fortitude and determination of the jurists.

“When Justices Baker, Streit, and Ternus joined a unanimous decision to overturn a law denying same-sex couples the privileges of marriage, they sacrificed their own futures on the court to honor Iowa’s Constitution and the rights of its citizens,” Kennedy said in a statement.

A committee consisting of 13 national, political, and community leaders selects the recipients of the annual awards, which are named for the late president’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage.” The awards will be presented on May 7 by Caroline Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.