Three Eastern Iowa women are being honored with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa’s Louise Noun Award, typically given to those who defend the civil liberties of Iowans.
Rev. Anna Blaedel, of Iowa City, was recognized for enabling a platform for gay rights through her work as a United Methodist campus minster at the University of Iowa. Sandy Mostaert, of Ely, and Stefanie Munsterman-Robinson, of Cedar Rapids, were given the award for organizing the Iowa Women’s March on Jan. 21, according to a news release from the ACLU of Iowa.
Blaedel was recognized for officiating a same-sex wedding earlier this year, a move that risked her job and possible censure from the church, according to the release. After officiating the wedding, a formal complaint was filed against Blaedel in April 2017 through the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church. The complaint was later resolved.
Further, Blaedel came out as openly gay last year during a sermon at the Iowa United Methodist annual conference in Des Moines.
Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa’s executive director, called Blaedel’s actions “humble and tenacious,” according to the release.
“She has compassionately and respectfully argued for what is just,” Stringer said in the release. “And she has been willing to persist for as long as it takes to change minds and hearts. She has been a model of how to live a life of integrity.”
For Mostaert and Munsterman-Robinson, the ACLU of Iowa recognized them for organizing and raising $20,000 to cover the march outside of the capitol building in Des Moines, which an estimated 26,000 people attended. The pair also helped women take part in the march in Washington, D.C., according to the release.
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Stringer said the Louise Noun Award given to Mostaert and Munsterman-Robinson is indicative of the recognition the ACLU of Iowa wants to extend to all those who participated in a faction of the Women’s March in Iowa.
“We are recognizing just two people, but we know that there are many who were key to making the Women’s March in Iowa happen, including events in several other Iowa locations,” he said. “This seemed like a good way overall to acknowledge the thousands of Iowans who came together to stand in solidarity, raise their voices and create a moment in history.”
The women will be given their awards at the ACLU of Iowa Bill of Rights Brunch scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Des Moines Botanical Garden.
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