Check out this great episode of PBS' "In The Life". It addresses the court ruling and interviews a few of the families -- including a couple friends of ours' -- who helped to make this court decision possible. Key quote:
"We felt the case was going to be successful because people here realize that those are my neighbors or those are my friends, and they're good people."The episode also deals with the legislative and judicial backlash that came as a result of this court decision.
Efforts have been made to punish the judges who ruled on this case, to undo our marriages, and to outlaw future gay marriages over the past couple years. Control of the Iowa House switched the November to the GOP and three of the Supreme Court justices got voted out. However, the Democrats continue to hold the Senate. As a result, efforts to amend our state constitution to outlaw gay families have stalled. Additionally, I truly believe that fair-minded voters were not happy with the politicization of the judicial retention votes and I wouldn't be surprised if subsequent efforts to oust the four remaining Supreme Court justices fails. Additionally, the GOP is doing a lot of kooky stuff in the House. They ran on job creation and passed a dove-hunting law. The House leadership has fixated on social issues like abortion and gay families and judicial impeachment and they've struck out at poor and middle class Iowans through bills that never had a chance of getting out of the Senate. It wouldn't shock me if they end up pushing too hard, too far on meaningless bills that mean little to most but their far-right base and end up flipping control back to the Democrats.
More importantly though, gays and lesbians have been legally marrying in Iowa for two years. Our state economy is one of the strongest in the USA. Iowa City and Des Moines and other communities with strong GLBT presences haven't been scooped up by tornadoes or washed away in floods. Divorce rates are down. Pastors are still preaching against gay families and not being thrown into jail as previously feared. Churches aren't being forced into doing anything they don't want to do. In short, gays are marrying and conservative Christians still have the right to their beliefs and their liberties.
My hope is that Iowans will learn to look beyond their initial fears about gay couples marrying and come to understand that we can all coexist even if we don't always agree on everything. The gay marriage ban died last week in the second funnel, so we have another year. Another year to interact and to be visible and to teach and to learn.