Friday, April 3, 2009

A Toast to Iowa

Summer vacation in Iowa anyone? I think an enterprising college student I know in Indiana would do well to head for Dubuque and open a wedding chapel - because guess what???!!!?? Iowa's Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage today! Wow! Iowa! America's heartland. The food capital of the world. Home of Cap'n Crunch. Birthplace of John Wayne and the Eskimo Pie. There was only a hint of alarm in the air when Massachusetts allowed same sex marriage in 2003, and barely a ripple of angst when the same came from Connecticut in 2008. Those states are, after all, on the East coast. And California...well, who wouldn't expect California to support gay marriage (until last November when voters acted something a bit more like Texans than Californians and decided to UNsupport the law). But, Iowa? Yes, indeed. We look now to the great state of Iowa for a sanity check on the nation:
“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.”
That's what Iowa's supreme court justices said in a summary of their decision this morning. They also said this:
“Equal protection under the Iowa Constitution is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike. Since territorial times, Iowa has given meaning to this constitutional provision, striking blows to slavery and segregation, and recognizing women’s rights. The court found the issue of same-sex marriage comes to it with the same importance as the landmark cases of the past.”
Amen. And, amen. Perhaps the decision will hold a little longer than the 5 months of California same sex marriage licensing last year. At least the constitution writers in Iowa made the task of amending the state's document a little more rigorous than California's. An amendment to Iowa's constitution requires a unanimous vote of TWO sessions of the state's legislature, and then voter approval. A referendum and lots of church money will not do it in Iowa. So, a bow and a salute to Iowa today - standing up early and tall in the fight for what is right in this country. Leaning proudly into the state's motto:
"Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."
Iowa - looking the rest of the country right in the eye today with the defiance and determination painted by Iowa's native son, Grant Wood, in 1928:
American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1928
Pick a fight with those two. I dare you. Peace.

1 comment:

Mary said...

You can vacation in Vermont this fall!