The Atlantic published a brief interview today with Dennis Johnson, who was the lead co-counsel for the same sex couples in Varnum vs. Brien. The interview is a quick read but what is contained in those few question speaks volumes for the state of Iowa and quality of the character of its residents.
He mentions how Iowa really is a progressive state. It’s funny that Iowa is the butt of so many jokes in the media, fly-over country to the two coasts and widely regarded as nothing but corn and soybeans. But we really are so much more than that. For a state that is really quite homogenous in most respects, we are certainly more than the sum of our parts. I like that Iowa has this long history of being ahead of the curve with regards to civil rights and the fact that same-sex marriage has happened in Iowa almost just stands to reason.
The other thing worth mentioning is that he is echoing what is becoming a quite commonly heard sentiment in the media. 2012 is the earliest we could see a challenge to this ruling in the form of a vote on a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. That is roughly 4 years from now. Johnson worked on the case for the 4 years leading up to the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision and watched the dramatic shift in attitudes toward gay marriage. Can you only imagine where we might be in another 4 years?
I have high hopes that, even if we screw this up and move backward, the next generation will rectify it. As Mike Gronstal’s daughter said, the other side really “has already lost.”
(Not related to Iowa, but here’s a good link regarding reactions to Vermont’s historic legalization of gay marriage via the state legislature, overriding a veto from the state’s Republican governor.)