The Hawkeye State gets it
April 27, 2009 1 Comment
There was a great article in Sunday’s New York Times about Iowa and the reaction of the citizenry to the Iowa Supreme Court’s allowance of gay marriage. I’ll be honest with you, it was not what I expected, but it really sounds like Iowans get it; they understand the whole idea of America.
I am not sure of the history of Iowa and have only been through there once (I spent a great night in the Quad Cities where I attended a BYOB strip club where I was actually told by the stripper to “grab some titty, boy”), but there seems to be a real libertarian streak that runs through the countryside.
Take this woman, for example, from the town portrayed in the painting “American Gothic.”
“To be honest, I would rather not have it in Iowa,” said Shirley Cox, who has spent most of her 84 years in this old railroad town. Ms. Cox said she had always been proud to tell people what state she was from, but now was not so sure.
“But the thing is,” she went on, “it’s really none of my business. Who am I to tell someone how to live? I live the way I want, and they should live the way they want. I’m surely not going to stomp and raise heck and campaign against it.”
Because I think the visual only adds to it, this is Shirley:
isn’t she great?
What a truly American view on life: it’s not right for me, but what business is it of mine?
According to the article, Iowa’s history is one filled with amazing accomplishments one wouldn’t necessarily associate with a Midwestern Farm Belt state:
In 1839, the Supreme Court for what was then the territory of Iowa refused to recognize a slave as a possession, years before the United States Supreme Court would rule in an opposite fashion, against Dred Scott.
In 1868 and 1873, the court issued rulings favoring desegregating schools and public accommodations, almost a century before the United States Supreme Court heard Brown v. Board of Education. Iowa was the first state, in 1869, to permit women to practice law.
At the very core of it, isn’t Ms. Cox’s statement really what it means to be an American? Your rights end where mine begin. And as long as no one forces me to marry anybody – or tells me i can’t marry someone, for that matter – I don’t care who you marry.
Like Ms. Cox, my new hero, you don’t have to like it. But it really is none of your business (as yours is none of mine) and you have no right to tell anyone how to live.
Kudos to the Iowa Supreme Court for striking down an unfair law and kudos to Iowans for their incredible pragmatic attitude toward the whole thing.
You are good Americans, Iowa, and yes, Ms. Cox, you should be very proud to tell people where you come from.
The Des Moines Register today has a story about the first gay marriage in Iowa and it highlights, without a doubt, the reasons this cannot and should not be stopped: there are rights and privileges granted to married couples that are being kept from others and THAT IS UNAMERICAN.
Shelley Wolfe, 38, and Melisa Keeton, 31, were the first gay couple in Polk County to marry under the new ruling.
They applied for their marriage license this morning then immediately got a judge to waive the standard three-day waiting period. They wanted to get married quickly, because Keeton is 25 weeks pregnant. They’ve been together nearly three years.
“For us, while I’m only 25 weeks pregnant, already into the third trimester, I’ve had a lot of medical issues,” said Keeton, who was waiting in line to have their marriage license notarized. “To me it’ll be a lot less stressful because we’ll have legal rights. Really, today is about making it legal.”
They have one son, Baxter, who’ll turn 3 in June. The women had a religious ceremony in 2007, but it lacked legal standing.
There are two important points. The first is the big one, about the pregnant one’s health and the medical issues she has had. Without this ruling, should something go wrong during the delivery – or any other time – her partner, now wife, would not have had the access rights granted to any straight couple who were married.
The second issue is the last sentence, which highlights very clearly the difference between a legal marriage and a religious marriage: religious marriages don’t mean shit.
It really is that simple.
So next time anyone tells you that marriage is a religious institution, remind them that no matter how many priests, clerics, reverends, rabbis, imams, witch doctors or high priestesses they have tell them they are married, it doesn’t count until they sign a legal contract.
And no one wants to force any stupid right-wing religious hatemongers to allow gays to marry in their church – hey, it’s America, if you want to hate, you go right ahead and hate. (By the way, doesn’t the Bible say “judge not lest ye be judged”? so why don’t you worry about the whole “free will” thing god gave humans and leave the judging to her, hmmm?)
But just like Shirley Cox, you don’t get to tell anyone else how to live their lives…