The first woman to preside over the Iowa Supreme Court, Marsha Ternus joined her six colleagues in a unanimous ruling in 2009 striking down an Iowa statute banning same-sex marriage. The ruling cost Justice Ternus and two of her colleagues their jobs, and embroiled the court in a political struggle that continued through the 2012 election and beyond.
In May 2012, Ternus and her two colleagues were honored with the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award. In announcing the award, the Kennedy Presidential Library stated the three justices “were chosen in recognition of the political courage and judicial independence each demonstrated in setting aside popular opinion to uphold the basic freedoms and security guaranteed to all citizens under the Iowa constitution.”
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