Our bucolic neighbors to the south on Friday became just the third state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. The tide appears to be turning.
Because I'm the office's token Iowan, my alleged insight is sought every time a nationally relevant news story spawns from the Hawkeye State. I don't have anything particularly perceptive to offer here, suffice it to say I haven't been this proud of my homestate since Iowans tried to place Karl Rove under citizens' arrest back in July. (Although I was also proud, albeit in a kinda-sorta, in-a-perversely-immature-kind-of-way, when I heard that two Iowa Hawkeyes fans were caught humping in a Metrodome bathroom last fall).
Now I'm not gay myself, but if stuffwhitepeoplelike.com has taught us anything, it's that straight white people not only enjoy having gay friends, but also boasting about having gay friends. In case the whole "being from Iowa" thing didn't tip you off, note that I am extremely white. Hence the following...
This afternoon I called up a Gay Friend--Chris Patton by name, good friend from high school, in his last year of grad/law school at the University of Iowa--to awkwardly/faux-condescendingly congratulate him on his people's victory. Also, I was particularly interested in getting his take, seeing as he's a) a lifelong Iowan, b) a columnist for the Daily Iowan who has been jabbering about this matter for months, and c) one of those dudes who gets a kick out of seeing his "breeder friends" squirm, and is thus quite eager to elaborate, in lurid detail, on various facets of the "gay lifestyle," a euphemism he no doubt abhors. Today, though, conversation was confined to the political/social/personal ramifications of the Court's ruling. And why he thinks Iowa might be a wee misunderstood.
"This is huge and I'm thrilled, but it's not super surprising," he said. "Iowa's deceptively progressive, which I don't think a lot of people on the coasts recognize. The coasts are awesome, don't get me wrong, but they need to remember they're not the center of the world... I'd also like to remind them that Barack Obama wouldn't be president were it not for Iowa."
The mood in Iowa City--home of the University of Iowa, and known for being somewhat of a mecca for Upper Midwest queerfolk and weirdos (the good kind)--is jubilant, at least among gays and their allies.
"There will be a rally on the Pentacrest [University of Iowa's main hub] tonight; we're trying to get as many people out as we can," said Patton. "It's important that the rallies celebrating the Court's decision dwarf any protests. We need to marginalize those bastards."
"This isn't a victory for gay people," he added. "It's a victory for human rights."