Friday, April 3, 2009

Equality in Iowa

This is impressive:

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning struck down a 1998 state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman.

The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.

The decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the fourth nationwide, to allow same-sex marriages. Lawyers for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group that financed the court battle and represented the couples, had hoped to use a court victory to demonstrate acceptance of same-sex marriage in heartland America.

And it was unanimous. In Iowa, too, not New York, not California, not Vermont* or some other stereotypical bastion of commie-pinko-queer liberalism, but the middle of America, both geographically, politically, and the home of common-sense live and let live.

That’s the whole point. It’s not that gays or lesbians or anyone else is entitled to “special rights;” we’re entitled to the same rights, unless you consider spending your life and committing yourself to someone on a legal basis as “special.” I always knew that for the concept of marriage equality to really take hold in this country, it would have to come from a place like Iowa.

It’s not over. I’m sure that there will be a movement like there was in California to pass a constitutional amendment like Prop 8, and there will be set-backs. But no one can doubt that the momentum is building, and thanks to the Supreme Court of Iowa, it continues.

*Vermont has passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage, but the governor is threatening to veto it.