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Des Moines, Iowa


Iowa Affirms Rights for Samesex Marriage

Geoff Wood

For an expatriate Iowan(1), I think that I keep up on the news back home better than most. However, I missed the fact that the Iowa Supreme Court was set to issue it's decision regarding a challenge to state's ban on samesex marriage last Friday.

Thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, I was fully up to speed within a few minutes of logging on that morning. It started through Twitter, where there were a plethora of posts announcing that the Supreme Court's website had been over-trafficed and brought down prior to the decision being announced. Over the next several hours the site was restored and news sites like the Des Moines Register reported that news that the gay marriage ban had been (unaminously) overturned.

I don't want to get too far into the politics here so I'll just say I was pleased with the ruling.

I was more than a bit surprised at the positive reaction to the news throughout my social networks. The buzz was all over Twitter and Facebook. Tweets and status updates were littered with posts boasting pride in Iowa's progressive decision and the example that it has set for the nation. 

When it comes to politics, Iowa and it's "first in the nation" status is prominently featured at the beginning of each Presidential Election. Otherwise, we don't get a lot of notoriety - except for decisions like these.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Grostal and State House Speaker Pat Murphy issued a joint press release applauding the decision that also featured other progressive moves the state has made in its history:

Iowa has always been a leader in the area of civil rights. 

In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided the issue. 

In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated “separate but equal” schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision. 

In 1873, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in public accommodations, 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision. 

In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law. 

In the case of recognizing loving relationships between two adults, the Iowa Supreme Court is once again taking a leadership position on civil rights.

Great job, Iowa. 

(1)Well, kind of, sometimes Indiana seems like an entirely different country.