August 31, 2007

same-sex marriage? in Iowa?

So, before we continue, I have a question. If your state representative only lists her home phone number on her official web page, can you call her at home? Because I definitely need to call her. Because today, in Des Moines, two guys got married. You can read the AP story or the Des Moines Register story.

I'm, ah, delighted. Overjoyed. Amazed. Shocked. That's my hometown - I may have visited the courtroom where that decision was made - and if I'd had to lay odds on a state, even a Midwestern one, being next for same-sex marriage, it would not have been Iowa. My faith in my state, sorely tested after the last election, springs up again.

So, of course, homework for everyone. School starts Tuesday, too, so do it now.

1) Call your state legislators, if you're an Iowan. Hell, if you're not, email the governor's office to say how great you think this is for Iowa's reputation and how it's made you think of Iowa in a whole new light. Provincial coastal denizens, I'm talking to you.

2) Look at the Justly Married photo set, and think how damn cute all those couples are. Then look at the pictures of Phyllis Martin and Del Lyon getting married and think how damn cute those two old ladies (who were out lesbians in the 1950s) were.

This is the kind of thing that gets people really excited and then sinks. But you know, it really does mean something to all the queer people in your life if you hear about this and get excited and call your legislators and everything. Not only does it make us all feel a little warm and fuzzy about our friends, but all the legislators on the fence? The ones who aren't sure they can get away with supporting same-sex marriage? Or who don't have much of an opinion but don't want to lose their seats over it? One of the things they look at is how the calls are running. If they get five times as many supportive calls as negative calls, they're going to think they won't get eviscerated for this in the next election, and maybe support the same-sex marriage decision. Or even just not actively oppose it. And that's how things get a little better.

Remember how at the beginning I asked if it was ok to call my state legislator at home? That's how small Iowa is. In a place like that, it's easy to swing a decision by saying something about it. I have a couple of pretty crazy stories about things I did in high school - before I could vote! - that permanently affected state policy. Not just me, of course, but stuff I helped organize.

Hurray for my state! Hurray for political participation!

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