Friday, April 10, 2009

Wake Up California, New York--Iowa Beat You to the Punch

Dear California and New York,

We have had a long, meaningful relationship. I look to you every four years to be true blue electoral college votes that I count on time and again. I have visited you both on numerous occasions. I'm even shopping for law schools almost exclusively in your states. I don't buy those neat LED Christmas lights, because they don't meet California's safety and environmental standards--if its not good enough for Cali, I'm not hanging it on my tree. New York, I'm planning a trip your way over Christmas break--I can't wait to buy blackmarket sunglasses and watches! But, guys... we have got to talk.

Iowa legalized same-sex marriage. Now, I don't mean to be... snarky, but, that is tantamount to getting lapped by the asthmatic fat kid, in a leg brace on your high school track in 7th period gym class. It's ridiculous.

To be fair, I don't know all that much about Iowa. But, in my mind, Iowa wasn't in the running to be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage. Well, surprise, surprise! I truly didn't see this one coming... I leave the country for a week and I come back the red states are starting to go blue.

The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld the lower-courts ruling which rejected the state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This decision was unanimous--it bears repeating. When Same-Sex Marriage went to the California Supreme Court it was a meager 4-3 majority. Very few cases are decided with a unanimous vote. Queer Iowans can quit schucking corn, slap on some overalls and some fine flanel button-ups, and head to the courthouse to get hitched to their little Queer snookems starting April 24th.

Oh, and Vermont too. Lets see: Iowa, Vermont, and Massachusetts have marriage. New York, you and D.C. recognize marriages performed in other states/countries. Oregon, New Hampshire, Maryland and New Jersey allow Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions that are equal to marriage. California: you, Washington State and Maine have Domestic Partnerships with less than the rights of marriage. Oh, and New York you also allow same-sex divorce--thanks by the way.

Hmm.... you would think that the first two states to vote in favor of the 19th Amendment granting suffrage for women would be on the forefront of equal rights for the LGBTQ community, but sadly this is not so.

I am disappointed. I am disappointed because I am shopping law schools in New York and California--because I would be proud to call either one of your states "home." I am disappointed as a Queer American who looks to you to set the example for the rest of the country. I expect the politics of hate to continue where I live, in Texas--I don't expect any rights any time soon. But, really! Those of us who are stuck in small towns, Southern cities or the darn Bible Belt--look to you for hope. And, hope to move to your lovely states when we are ready and able.

But, if Iowa teaches us anything, it is that small states, purple states, even rural states can stand up for equality. If we owe anything to Iowa, it is to be ready to fight to keep same-sex marriage in place--we cannot have another Prop. 8 fiasco. Trust me, the other side is already rallying their troops.

Wake up California and New York! You will be judged by history for your inaction. For your willingness to bow to conservative concerns, to trade liberty and equality for the votes of the prejudiced. If interracial marriage were put to a popular vote, it would still be illegal. Instead, Loving v. Virginia ended the anti-miscegenation laws. That wasn't that long ago. The California Supreme Court needs to stand up against Prop. 8. New York, you need to stop dabbling in the business of equality by recognizing marriage and allowing divorce; you must boldly fight for equal marriage rights. Show them what you are made of! Who you are! Who you have proved yourself to be!

How will you be remembered in fifty years?

Just another not-legally-wed pit-bull from Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Just goes to show you that our rural friends aren't so bad afterall. Way to not live as a stereotype Iowa! Also, I was surprised to find out that Des Moines is pushing 3 million. Not so rural after all.