About this Case

Same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the county recorder challenged the Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman. The District Court ruled in favor of the couples; however, the county recorder appealed to the Supreme Court of Iowa.

Summary of NLF's Brief

We argued that the district court erred by including a number of “ultimate facts” and “sociological judgments” in its statement of material facts.  Generally, findings of fact from a trial court cannot be reversed unless they are not supported by substantial evidence, that standard of review was not applicable here.  Same-sex marriage cannot be considered a fundamental right, because, by definition, marriage is the union of a man and a woman.  Finally, the district erred in citing Justice O’Connor’s “more searching form of rational-basis review” from her concurrence in Lawrence v. Texas.  A majority of the Supreme Court of the United States had not adopted this expanded review.  Furthermore, of the limited number of opinions that had discussed this form of review, the vast majority had either rejected it or merely mentioned it.