The court documents before the Iowa Supreme Court's recent decision about same-sex marriage included a detailed look at the history of civil rights in Iowa, both legislatively and in the Supreme Court. This is a thumbnail look at some of the laws and cases detailed in that brief, and also in articles written about the decision.
1838 – Constitution of the Territory of Iowa (US congress passed)
1839 - Territorial Supreme Court: man could not be sent back into slavery "re: Ralph," WL 2764, at *6 (Iowa Terr. July 1839) "no man in this territory can be reduced to slavery." (US - 1865 after Civil War)
1846 – Iowa declared the 16th state
1844 - 1857 constitutional convention(s)
1847 - State Seal - "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain"
1851 – Iowa General Assembly: removed ban on inter-racial marriage (1967 US)
1851 – Iowa "Code of 1851:" gave married women property rights
1855 & 1860 & 1915 – Constitutionality of above was clarified and shaped
1857 - Iowa Constitution ratified (Gov. James W. Grimes)
1857 - Iowa Constitution included African-Americans 'same rights' as every citizen
1867 – Iowa Supreme Court: broke with 'common law' that men would get absolute custody of children in divorce; "Cole v Cole"
1868 - Iowa Supreme Court: school desegregation case "Clark v Board of Directors," 24 Iowa 266 -- a 12-year-old girl could not be barred from a Muscatine school on basis of race
1869 - Iowa Supreme Court: Arabella Mansfield could not be barred from practicing law due to gender. She became the first female lawyer in US.
1870 – Iowa General Assembly: removed "white male" from statute about lawyers
1873 – Iowa Supreme Court: Emma Coger, mixed race woman, could not be denied eating privileges in steam boat 'whites only' dining room.
1875 – Historic First: Emma Haddock, first female lawyer to practice in US Federal courts
1884 – Iowa General Assembly: civil rights law enacted (racial) – Acts of the Twentieth General Assembly
1884 – Historic First: Jennie McCowen, one of first US women medical graduates (U.I.)
1920 – Historic First: (Iowa General Assembly?) When women got the vote, Iowa also made them eligible for jury service (most states still didn't allow this for a decade or more)
1924 -- Native Americans given right to vote.
1949 – Iowa Supreme Court: Edna Griffin in Katz Drugstore case – first successful application of 1884 Iowa Civil Rights law (national was 1964)
1965 –1969 US Supreme Court - Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District: Freedom of speech includes black arm bands protesting the war in Vietnam.
1965 - Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965: Established the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
1967 – Iowa Code Exempts Amish Schools from educational standards pursuant to Iowa Code section 299.24 on basis of religious freedom.
1970 – Iowa General Assembly: no-fault divorce (one of first in nation laws)
1971 – Adel High School's (anti) Long Hair rule at school is unconstitutional (district court) Boys can wear their hair long.
1976 - Iowa Supreme Court: sodomy laws violate "equal protection" clause (Legislation: Iowa struck down all sodomy laws in 1978; US in 2003)
1980 – Iowa Supreme Court: in divorce, child custody orders must not be based on race "Community prejudice cannot be permitted to control the makeup of families." (US - 1984)
1990 - Americans with Disabilities Act (National): In 1990 Iowa’s Senator Tom Harkin was one of the authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).