Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbtq+) rights in the U.S. state of Iowa have evolved significantly in the 21st century. Iowa began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on April 27, 2009 following a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, making Iowa the fourth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples may also adopt, and state laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.


In 2009, Iowa became the third state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The lead plaintiffs who successfully challenged the State are from Iowa City. Same-sex couples may adopt children. State laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Of over 500 cities assessed by the Human Rights Campaign Index in 2019, Iowa City was one of just 88 to receive a perfect score. The index rates cities based on their assessed non-discrimination laws, presence of transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, non-discrimination requirements for contractors, inclusiveness of city services, lgbtq+Q-competent law enforcement training, and municipal leadership on equality.

Iowa City’s Mayor, Bruce Teague, is the first gay man of color elected to the Iowa City Council and Mayor’s position.

Studio 13 (13 S. Linn St. Iowa City) Is the only club in town that officially bills itself as a gay club, but it is far from the only gay-friendly place in the community. Studio 13 has plenty of events including live music, drag shows, karaoke, and guest DJs.

George’s Buffet (312 E. Market St. Iowa City)  – Don’t let the name fool you. There is no buffet. Just an old fashioned tavern serving cold beer, straight forward spirits, jazz music, and famous cheeseburgers. Located in the Northside Neighborhood, George’s is a favorite of writers in town for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Big Grove Brewery (1225 S. Gilbert St. Iowa City)  – Award-winning craft beer, a gourmet local food menu, and lots of indoor and outdoor space make this a top destination in Iowa City. Enjoy live music on the stage, a game of shuffleboard, or sit out by a fire pit in the yard.
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