Today’s letter – Iowa stubbornness or sensibility?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I could not let today pass without mentioning that the first same-sex marriages are taking place in Iowa!

Up until this decision, all I knew about Iowa I learned from The Music Man: “We’re so dog-gone stubborn we can stand and touch our noses for a week at a time and never see eye to eye. But what the heck, you’re welcome, join us at the picnic. (You can have your share of all the food you bring yourself.)”

I know how happy I was when I got married in California after 11 years as “domestic partners” – June 17, 2008. I hear stories from Massachusetts about how marriage liberated couple after couple in ways that domestic partnership did not, simply because people understand “marriage.” I remember the hurt when marriages were stopped in California, when the people of California said “no, you’re not welcome even to a share of the food you bring yourself.” And I remember the joy when New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa joined Massachusetts in saying “freedom means freedom for everybody.”

I would have expected to be run out of Iowa on rails like Professor Harold Hill, but never out of California. I guess things have changed in the 21st century.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Iowa has more freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In 1839 Iowa rejected slavery. In 1868, racially segregated “separate but equal” schools were rejected, and in 1869, Iowa admitted women to the practice of law. Then for a century, Iowa stood still while places like California lead the way on religious freedom and civil equality.

That spell was broken today when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the state’s law forbidding same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

In contrast, California led the charge into the 21st century in the palms of the Opponents of Equality, with two vetos and a ballot initiative creating “separate but equal” institutions for domestic relationships.

I wish you had taken a more active role in protecting California’s legacy as a place where every citizen could be treated with dignity and respect. Instead you did nothing while the Constitutional protection of the minority was trampled by the tyranny of the majority.

Now Californians will have to go to Iowa to get married, instead of Disneyland. Thanks, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sincerely,