Category Archives: Link Roundup

Seven days

It has been seven days since same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in the state of Iowa.  It has also been nearly that long since there’s been a post on this blog!  That was not intentional as I think both Heidi and I had meant to post several times.  I, for one, have several posts brewing in my head, but have lacked the time and energy to write them.  But fear not, gentle readers, they are coming.  I am going to try to get at least one of them posted this week.

So what’s happened in the seven days since marriage equality became the law of the land in Iowa?  More than 450 couples have applied for and been granted marriage licenses.  Couples from Minnesota and Missouri have come to Iowa to be married, even though they know that their marriages will not be recognized in their home states.

But what’s more interesting is what hasn’t happened.  The apocalypse has not arrived.  The sky has not fallen.  The world has not stopped turning.  People are continuing to go about their daily business.  But for a certain segment of the population, that business now includes having the same basic rights that I have taken for granted my whole life.

Seven days later, the world is still, more or less, the same.  And this is despite what some of the most angry and vitriolic members of the other side predicted.

There will be more posts this week, I promise.

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Today is the day

Today is Marriage Day!

If you are heading to an Iowa County Recorder today, congratulations, and best wishes!  Be sure to look for One Iowa volunteers and staff for support, or at least an extra cheer.  Also remember to visit One Iowa’s website for helpful tips and guidesheets.  I recommend especially Lambda Legal’s FAQ sheet, as it has extensive discussion of issues such as out-of-state/leaving state issues and discusses deeper, less exciting but still important legal aspects of marriage as it relates to same-sex couples. The Chicago Tribune also has a nice blow-by-blow/summary of what is needed to receive a license today.  (Makes me wish I were in more of a border county!)

There may be protesters today, and there will be people viewing today as a fearful, dangerous event.  There are prayer protests planned, which, so long as they are for understanding and love, I’m all for.   But remember that not everyone feels that way, and that a good number of these allies are in religious institutions, too.  Remember, if you’re near Des Moines, come to their celebration tonight at Des Moines Social Club.  If you’re not, find one in your area, or make your own!  Whatever you do, enjoy today.  Don’t let anyone else’s fear or uncertainty bring you down.  Today is an historic day.  Enjoy it to its fullest.

And say hi if you register in Story County!  I’ll be at the courthouse from 9-3.

Just might do something rash

As I was preparing to write this post, Prince’s “Strange Relationship” came up randomly on iTunes and the lyric “Honey if U left me I just might do something rash” seemed oddly appropriate. It seems like there’s not a day goes by that emotions are not running high. The rhetoric on both sides of the issue of marriage equality seems only to ratchet up. Rash actions are everywhere these days.  A recently released report by the Department of Homeland Security warns of the risk of increasing right-wing extremism.  Members of the Iowa Legislature are receiving frightening e-mails at best and death threats at worst.  Republican candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats stated Tuesday that if he were elected governor, he would  immediately stay the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision by executive order, and encouraged current governor Chet Culver to do the same, even though the governor has no such authority.  And finally, Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) attempted yesterday, once again, to force debate on a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage by attaching it to the already controversial tax bill being debated in the Iowa House.  Look for that to make news today, although some reports state that the bill is already dead for this session.

See what I mean about emotions running high?

However, amidst all this rashness, I found what is perhaps one of my favorite editorials yet on marriage equality and the ongoing attempts to get a vote on amending the state Constitution.  It was the lead editorial in the Des Moines Register.  What it accomplished was the opposite of rash.  It calmly detailed how arguments that the court was “activist” by “legislating from the bench” are erroneous.  It also answered Vander Plaats question “Who is to balance the courts?  Who says the courts get the final say?” simply and eloquently.  It’s the Constitution, stupid.

But the best part is here, when speaking about the amendment process here in Iowa:

Amendments must be initiated in the General Assembly, passed by each chamber and again by a second General Assembly separated by an election, and then ratified by a vote of the people. This deliberative process avoids rash changes made in the heat of passion that people might later come to regret – like the drama playing out right now.

What I’m hoping for, and the point I keep coming back to is that the time built into the amendment process is one that will hopefully allow cooler heads to prevail.  Make no mistake – even though the amendment process is likely dead for this session, it WILL come up next session.  I also think that members of the legislature will have to run on either their support or lack thereof of marriage equality.  Exactly how that will affect the election is anyone’s guess, but we’ll hope it is works out for equality rather than discrimination.

As a friend of mine pointed out to me yesterday, social conservatives have a long history of declaring that the sky is falling.  But there it is, still up there.  As a recent letter to the editor in the Quad City Times stated, everyone knows a gay person.  They are our neighbors and co-workers and friends.  Gay men have taught me more about the new masculinity than any straight guy I have known.  And simply put, they deserve equal treatment under the law.  Ultimately, those marriage equality foes will trot out religious argument after religious argument, it boils down to the state of Iowa will not discriminate.  Period.

Finally, this video has been posted all across the blogosphere, but it merits posting here as well.  It successfully debunks every talking point that opponents of marriage equality have.  I post it not to gloat or preach to the choir, but I hope that even one person might be swayed to supporting the cause by realizing it is not about religion or gay marriage.  It is about discrimination.

Nostalgia For An Age Yet To Come

gay-marriage-ad3I’ll begin by noting that when I did a google news search for “Iowa gay marriage,” this gem came up in the sponsored link section, so I thought I’d use it to open on a bright note. Not that the links I have today are bad.  I’ll begin with the word from New York, where officials are pushing to have same-sex couples included in the census.  Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is being asked to decide if the same-sex marriage ban was properly put to voters. New Hampshire’s legislature has started the ball rolling on same-sex marriage in their state.  Even Poland is getting into the act; Towleroad reports that after using a New York gay couple’s wedding photos without permission in scare-tactics ads, the  government is reaching out to that couple, inviting them to Poland.  Towleroad also does a very nice roundup of the week that was, including quite a bit of Iowa news.  A common theme at week’s end was that the tide is turning, but we shouldn’t have been surprised to see it happen in Iowa, and the fact that it has is casting Iowa in a positive new light.  Even Dr. Laura is softening (somewhat).  

This is likely why when you view THINK’s slideshow of the opposition rally on Thursday, you see nothing but anger.  The first photo is so striking to me: Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center is bent over the podium, face screwed up in rage, clutching, hunching beside a stone-faced man in blood red.   The real fear is made clear in a report from OnTop magazine which notes an increase in the correlation by anti-marriage advocates with gay marriage and murder.  While marriage allies likely scratch their head over this one, to the hardline right, the correlation is clear: the world, from their view, is raging out of control, and society as they know it is falling apart.   Continue reading

And the hyperbole of the day award goes to…

The Baptist Press – comparing marriage equality to the devastating floods from last summer.

Hmm, let’s see, which is more destructive? People declaring their love for each other and building up families of all types, or this:

Midwest Flooding

Baptist Press,  there is NO comparison.

Evening link wrap-up, with videos

The big news of the day, of course, was that the Democrats in the Iowa Statehouse successfully kept the Republicans from inserting a call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage into the budget bill, and if you haven’t thanked them (and One Iowa) yet, you should.  But there are a few other choice bits floating around, and a few videos worth noting. Continue reading

Fear & hate see no victory at the Iowa State Capitol

So much is going on right now it’s not possible to keep up.  Justin Uebelhor from One Iowa is keeping a live twitter feed going from the shenanigans at the Iowa statehouse, but essentially, this is the recap from today.  At 8:30 this morning opponents for equal marriage and One Iowa each held rallies at the statehouse; they watched from the galleries as House Republicans attempted to force a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  This was ruled out of order, and the parties went into caucus by 10AM as the opposition chanted “let us vote,” right there in the statehouse.  This was the point where Dan and I arrived (I had a doctor appointment at nine in Ames), and we spent about fifteen minutes catching up and taking in the sights under the rotunda.  One Iowa was there in force, everyone bedecked in the “blue dot” t-shirts or at the very least sporting One Iowa stickers.  Opponents for marriage were in red, and this seemed to go with their aggressive, angry tone.  While we stood on the basement level prepping to leave for the One Iowa office, a woman in red with accusatory signs paraded up and down the hall, often going right up to patrons eating or conversing to hover angrily beside them (particularly if they had a blue dot on their shirt).  We’d intended to lobby legislators, but since they were in caucus, we adjourned to the office to do some data entry.

Upon our arrival, however, we learned that during the five  minute walk from the statehouse Republican leadership had organized a motion to vote out the current leader of the Iowa House, and would force through a vote on an amendment at 1PM.  Data entry became phonebanking, and we sat with the rest of the office staff frantically trying to reach Democrats in districts not precisely shored up.  When we left they were getting ready to head back up to the statehouse and see what would come of the afternoon.

(On a side note, we slipped past Smash on our way to the car, and I picked up this shirt, but not before we quite literally ran into Governor Culver on the sidewalk as he headed into a restaurant with Patty Judge & an undisclosed entourage.  We shook his hand and thanked him for supporting equality and keeping discrimination out of our constitution, or, as I told the checkout person at Smash, “Thanks for not being a dick.”)

As of right now, it appears that House GOP tried to scrap the budget and replace it with a vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; literally just as I was typing that One Iowa tweeted that the House has voted NOT to insert the amendment.  I can practically hear the WOOTS from here.

So this is the state of the state: the Republicans have abandoned all work on health care, schools, the economy, and everything relevant to 100% of all Iowans to force debate on an issue which affects a minority fully protected by the state constitution, and in a debate which would change their current status from very, very positive to very, very negative.  

Do me a favor, will you?  Contact One Iowa and tell them they did a fabulous job, because I can tell you right now, the reason that amendment was not inserted is entirely, one hundred percent because of their hard work and perseverance. Well done, One Iowa.  Well done.