Love Not Laws

There have been a number of youtube responses to NOM’s “Gathering Storm” ad, and I have enjoyed them, but this is the first one that I thought was truly in the spirit of what we’re trying to do with this blog.

I love how NOM released an ad to stir things up in Iowa and it became a national sensation.  I love how the lies and misrepresentations have been deconstructed, reconstructed, and essentially undone. But I love this one because it is a positive message.  And I’m still in love with the One Iowa ad: may it stay on the air for a long, long time.

Death and Rebirth

 

In a more perfect world I would have written this post on Easter Sunday, but it feels, in a way, more appropriate today.  Easter was a nice day, but this day is even better. The temperatures were in the 80s (but it wasn’t humid!), the sun was shining, and a sturdy but still gentle breeze whipped in through the open window screens.  I took the opportunity to scrub down our screened in porch, and now my family is enjoying a warm spring evening there.  My daughter is playing “town” with some blocks, and my husband is reading on the laptop.  Soft music is playing in the background.  The ledges are filled with plants (and cats), and a feng shui fountain burbles quietly in a corner beneath a string of fairy lights.  And on today, a warm spring day, it is only four days until one era ends and a new one begins in our state.  Yes, I think today is a much better day to write about death and rebirth, even though Easter might have initially seemed to have been more appropriate. Continue reading

Hope, courage and respect

One Iowa has unveiled their ad, which began airing on local stations yesterday.  It is quiet and understated, in stark contrast to The Gathering Storm ad and other fiery rhetoric that opponents of equality are displaying.  It speaks loudly with its softness

This is how the war will be won.  Quietly, rationally and with love and tolerance rather than scare tactics and divisieness.

Good job, One Iowa.  Keep up the good work.

Wedding Day Approaching!

gayweddingmenThis coming Monday, April 27, is the day county recording offices will begin issuing same-sex wedding licenses in Iowa. It’s so exciting to simply write that!  Are you getting married?  Are you helping plan for a wedding?  I can’t wait to start hearing these stories, and I will admit freely I am waiting like a wallflower, hoping to be invited to some.

In the meantime, I imagine some people are nervous about going to their county offices because it’s hard to shake off years of stigma and the idea that marriage is reserved for heterosexuals.  The good news?  One Iowa is on the case again, providing you with much needed information and tips.  Please sign up and keep yourself informed and your rights protected.

One Iowa is also helping to network volunteers to help county recorders and to help same-sex couples feel reassured when they sign up for licenses.  I’m going to be one of them, in fact–as of right now it looks like I’ll be at Webster City during the day and then Story County after 4PM, but that could change.  All I can say is that I wish Dan and I had this kind of support when we went to register for a license. 200-x-200-commitment

You have, too, I hope seen the new licenses themselves?  “Partner A” and “Partner B.”  If I weren’t married already, these would be the forms I’d use.  There was so much built-in sexism to the process, even back in 1997; I got so tired of seeing commercial publications urging me to become “Mrs. Daniel Cullinan.”  I love the simplicity of Partner A and Partner B.  I love what a gender and orientation equalizer this is.  I’ve heard people–gay and straight–say that calling it “marriage” isn’t a big deal, but you know, it is.  It’s the word we’ve set up for many, many years to signify a committed union.  It has social as well as legal implications.  

So if I end up volunteering at your county recorder and I’m a bit over-excited, please forgive me.  Or, better yet, be very excited along with me.

Happy planning!

 

UPDATE: Here is a link to One Iowa’s outstanding marriage resource page.  Thank them with a donation if you’re so inclined!

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.

Thursday News Round-Up

Please excuse the unintended dry spell of posts; I had an unexpected bout of carpal tunnel, and on the heels of that a sick child, and Dan’s attempt to post a large update was eaten by WordPress.  But in the spirit of “better late than never,” here’s a link/news round-up for the past few days.

The big news is that Republicans keep attempting to force an amendment vote through any means necessary, including a push yesterday to attach the amendment to another bill (which did not get voted on). Interestingly enough, this push was not reported in any internet news sources I could find. During a rally at the statehouse Monday, Vander Plaats has put himself center stage against opponents of equal marriage, vowing that if he were governor he would immediately put a stay on all same-sex marriages, something which many have come forward to explain that a governor does not, in fact, have the power to do. Tuesday Sen. Merlin Bartz tried to push a “conscience clause” which would allow county recorders to refuse to issue licenses if they object to gay marriage, a precedent which I will say, personally, makes my blood run cold.  This failed, as have all other attempts, but it is also clear that until this session closes, Republicans will do whatever they can and on a daily basis to block marriage equality.

Across the country, however, marriage equality continues to attempt to expand; Governor Paterson of New York will introduce a Same-Sex marriage bill, according to the New York Times. Washington State’s legislature expanded same-sex partnerships Wednesday.  Rick Warren is everywhere in the news as well, going out of the way to assure people he did not support or campaign for Proposition 8, despite Youtube evidence that he did. Responses from our neighbors, meanwhile, continue to center around surprise but are overall supportive.

I’ve found it interesting how many national articles are springing up to point out that the next phase in gay rights may very well be the phasing out.  The Washington Post reported that Love Makes a Family in Connecticut is closing its doors and declaring, essentially, “mission accomplished.” The article points out that the LGBT movement has been on for so long–and overall battered for so long–that it may be difficult for some communities to transition out of defense and into the mainstream world of equal rights.  With the passage of Proposition 8 and the battle still going strong in many states, and the clear intent to continue challenging equality in Iowa, clearly it isn’t quite time to board the aircraft carrier for good.  However, this is a good point, that ultimately the goal of these marriage equality groups is to put themselves out of business.

This clearly can’t happen, however, until the dust settles on conservative fears that their rights will be taken away, and until the federal government follows the lead of the increasing number of equality-minded states, something which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Here in Iowa, we continue to have a clear sight of a long, likely unpleasant struggle before us.  However, at this moment equality is playing offense, not defense.  We have the ball.  And everyone who’s ever played high school basketball knows what you do with the ball at the end of the fourth quarter: you hold your ground, keep calm, and wait out the clock.

One Iowa Online Protest

My apologies I’m not giving this the usual attention, but I’m currently engrossed in the horror that is #amazonfail.***  Because of this, a brief post and nudge to action.

One Iowa is hosting an online protest today to counter a protest at the statehouse by marriage opponents.  A summary:

  1. Call your representatives.  Contact the Iowa House switchboard at 515-281-3221 and the Iowa Senate switchboard at 515-281-3371. You can find your legislators here.  See this post for tips on how to talk to legislators & their office staff on the phone; the message today is that we want our legislators to get back to work on issues that affect all Iowans and stop the distractions to put discrimination into the constitution.  Edit that statement as it suits you, but feel free to use it as a guide.
  2. Also email your legislators and tell them to put aside divisive politics and work on issues of common concern.  That link takes you to a handy form from One Iowa.
  3. Change your facebook, twitter, and any other images to this blue dot for the day, and set your facebook status to “One Iowa Rally for Common Concern: Avoid divisive politics and focus on what really matters! http://bit.ly/rH6r9.”  Twitter users are encouraged to tweet this with the hastag #OIRCC at the end: it will look like this. If you want to follow the #OIRCC news but don’t know how or don’t have twitter, use this link. It will prompt you to refresh when new tweets come in, and it’s a great way to get news.  

I have a few posts brewing in me, but life has caught up, so watch for them either later tonight or tomorrow.  Until then, please keep helping One Iowa keep Iowa on the right track.

 

***Here is an excellent summary of #amazonfail, but in short amazon.com is stripping LGBT and now feminist & disabilities works of their sales rank, which affects their searching ability and prompts unfriendly work to come up in searches like “women’s studies” and “homosexuality.”  You can follow the hashtag news here (warning, it is very, very active, and addicting), and Heidi’s admittedly rabid tweets on the issue via her personal twitterfeed here.