BOSTON — Three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were ousted from the bench in a retention vote after ruling that Iowa’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, will be honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, according to an announcement by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
The award — named for then-Sen. Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage” — was established in 1989 by members of the Kennedy’s family to honor the late president, and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.
The recipients, former Justices Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit, and David Baker, lost their retention bid in the 2010 elections after anti-gay organizations, including the Family Research Council, the National Organization For Marriage, Focus On The Family and Iowa-based The Family Leader, claimed they were legislating from the bench and failed to uphold the “family values” that mattered most to the citizens of Iowa.
Voters ousted three state Supreme Court justices, who joined in the unanimous 2009 ruling that led to legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa.
“The Profile in Courage Award seeks to make Americans aware of the conscientious and courageous acts of their public servants, and to encourage elected officials to choose principles over partisanship – to do what is right, rather than what is expedient,” according to the Foundation.
Calla Rongerude, interim executive director of One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, congratulated the justices for “their courage and their commitment to upholding the Constitution.”
“Because of their dedication to treating all Iowans as equal under the law, they have transformed the lives of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples and have made Iowa a more inclusive and fair place for all families. This is a very well deserved honor,” said Rongerude, in a statement.
Craig Robinson, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, Iowa’s largest ultra conservative news site countered, “This is just another example of liberals using the role of the victim to advance their cause. This award has nothing to do with courage. It’s about political victimhood.”
Ternus, Streit, and Baker will be honored for their ruling by the Kennedy Library Foundation in May.
The award is presented each May at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in connection with the observance of President Kennedy’s May 29 birthday.