Amici in Iowa Marriage Equality Victory

April 23, 2009

Cleary Gottlieb was amicus counsel to a group of social science academics and organizations in the recent victory before the Iowa Supreme Court in Varnum v. Brien, which struck down the state statute precluding same-sex couples from marrying under the equal protection clause of the Iowa constitution.

Amici included the American Sociological Association, the American Anthropological Association, and the Center for Inquiry, along with over fifty leading academics in social science. Amici argued in support of the trial court’s evidentiary rulings, which excluded testimony from several proffered “experts” who offered opinions regarding the effects that same-sex marriage could have on children, families and society. In affirming the trial court, the Supreme Court recognized that plaintiff’s evidence showed that “most scientific research has repudiated the commonly assumed notion that children need opposite-sex parents to grow into well-adjusted adults.” The decision also agreed with amici’s arguments that opinions suggesting a need for dual-gender parenting “were largely unsupportable by reliable scientific studies.” The case was referred to Cleary Gottlieb by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., which was lead counsel for plaintiffs.