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One year later, same-sex marriage ruling should be celebrated

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | APRIL 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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The sun still rises.

Marriage between heterosexual couples is just as meaningful.

And the “homosexual agenda” hasn’t eviscerated all things that make Iowa great.

Not much has changed since the Iowa Supreme Court’s historic Varnum v. Brien ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage one year ago.

Apart from the continued outcry from the Iowa Family Policy Center and other social conservatives, many right-minded Iowans have accepted the decision. In the Iowa Legislature, the Democratic leadership stridently resisted action on the issue, and gay-marriage opponents failed to muster the necessary votes to counter that principled adamancy.

Now that the hullabaloo surrounding gay marriage has largely subsided, the greatest realization of the past year is Iowa’s progressive nature. This is a state that genuinely strives for equality and promotes the rights of every person — not just those who fall in line with anachronistic mindsets.

Every Iowan should be proud to live in a state that embodies egalitarianism, rather than prejudice.
Even Iowa Gov. Chet Culver — who notoriously waffled on the issue — has taken a stronger position on it.

During a recent legislative-assessment speech, Culver said, “We stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state Constitution have no place in our state Constitution.”

A year ago, Culver might have been roundly criticized for such a comment. But upholding equal rights shouldn’t be about partisanship or ideology. It seems he now understands that.

Apparently, the Iowa Family Policy Center does not. In a March 31 press release, center Action President Chuck Hurley said, “no matter how many un-Biblical, unconstitutional Supreme Court rulings you get, we will continue standing for righteousness in the public square.”

As Hurley’s bigoted statement evinces, there’s still a long way to go in the fight for equal rights. Gays are still unable to openly serve in the military, and anti-gay views are still pervasive. In a recent CNN survey, an astounding 48 percent of respondents said that “homosexual relationships between consenting adults” are “morally wrong.”

For all the political squabbling and threats of guaranteed repeal in the last 52 weeks, it’s heartening to see anti-marriage equality sentiments slowly fading. The court’s ruling hasn’t discernibly changed the landscape of Iowa, save for increasing tourism, bolstering Iowa’s reputation, and ensuring marriage equality.

In a September 2009 Des Moines Register poll, 92 percent of those surveyed said the decision had no real effect on their lives.

Nor did it alter the country. While monumental, the decision unfortunately hasn’t spurred more wins for marriage equality across the country. But for Iowans, at least, it should be comforting to know one thing: The Iowa Supreme Court got it right.


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