April 3rd 2009 was a Friday. Lindsey and I were in our apartment in Panyu, a suburb of megalopolis Guangzhou, China. The results of Varnum v. Brien hadn’t broken by the time we went to bed. We had to get up early the next morning; we were going to Hong Kong.
As soon as I got up Saturday morning, I checked the internet. “Lindsey!” I called out. She came into the room really quickly, because the tone of my voice made it sound as though I had hurt myself or discovered some horrible news. “What?!” “We can get married in Iowa.”
The Iowa Supreme Court had ruled, “We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective… Iowa Code section 595.2 [defining marriage as male-female only] denies gay and lesbian people the equal protection of the law promised by the Iowa Constitution.”
This is perhaps not the most romantic engagement story you’ve ever heard.
Don’t worry, we have other engagement stories. We’ve been getting engaged since at least 2006. We didn’t really expect to be able to get married so soon. But that’s one more thing: we don’t necessarily get to the pick the time and place we’d like to be married. The earliest possible challenge to the Court ruling is 2012. Iowa, fortunately, is where we fell in love and a place we hold dearly. 2011, fortunately, is a good amount of time away for us to be thinking about getting married (and conveniently a year and a half after Lindsey’s brother’s wedding and a year after my sister’s wedding). We are fortunate to be in love and young in a time of change. Iowa is just a small answer to the question “Why can’t we get married?”, but I’m so happy it’s Iowa.
It’s a beautiful spring day today.
You can read the Iowa Supreme Court ruling here. I highly recommend it.