Score Another for Iowa

Eager, anxious Californians waited Tuesday morning to hear the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8, passed by voters in November, that banned gay marriage in this state. The court upheld Prop. 8, leaving many angry and perplexed. Others, of course, were elated. This is the changing face of California.

I have watched this drama unfold from a distance. Meanwhile, where I am standing, Iowa’s top court affirmed gay couples’ right to marry. An interesting juxtaposition. Here you have one state, California, a place that has become known for its left-leaning politics and ideologies—a place where many people in Iowa find distasteful for all of its freeness and peace, love and understanding. But this is not the case. A state with these attributes would not have had such a oscillating view on equal rights and gay marriage.

Maybe it’s time we stop thinking of California as this liberal, free-wheeling bastion of equality and progressive values and start seeing it for what it really is—a conflicted hodgepodge of sun-soaked people who really can’t seem to screw their heads on right (friends and family excluded, of course). First with the election of Arnorld Schwarzenegger and then his re-election, then the demise of the state legislature’s ability to come to a consensus and pass a decent budget without cutting vast sums of money from public infrastructure (namely education and social services). Now the back and forth on gay marriage.

It has only taken one try so far here in Iowa. From my vantage point it seems pretty definite that this state in flyover country, that only gets attention every four years during presidential primary campaigns, is setting the standard for equal rights and humanity in our country. Not only that, but real estate here is actually affordable. And, perhaps with climate change, its weather will get a little better.

At least for now, Iowa has shown its worth.

From SF Chronicle:

Calif upholds gay marriage ban

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The state Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.

The decision Tuesday rejected an argument from gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution’s equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature’s approval.

The announcement of the decision caused outcry among a sea of demonstrators who gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse awaiting the ruling.

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