Iowa Is First Midwestern State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
By Winnie Stachelberg
As a longtime advocate for LGBT rights, I'm pleased to see that today's same-sex marriage decision by the Iowa Supreme Court has not set off the kind of media anxiety and conservative outrage that LGBT issues have sparked in the past. The decision legalized same-sex marriage for the first time in a Midwestern state.
When Massachusetts' Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health ruling established same-sex marriage for the first time in 2003, you couldn't turn on the news or read a paper for days without seeing a discussion dominated by gay marriage. Today, thanks to four years of incredible work by Lambda Legal, the Iowa Supreme Court broke down another barrier in Varnum v. Brien. But this time, the response is different.
Our country stands in the midst of an economic crisis, our president is overseas rebuilding and restoring America's leadership in the world, and our Congress is addressing the pressing issues of health care and energy. Americans realize in this context that, as important as marriage equality is for millions of gay and lesbian Americans, the United States faces issues that deserve our attention much more. I am optimistic that the members of the Iowa General Assembly will agree.