On Friday, Lindsey and I hosted our 1 Mile March for Equality (links to photos and videos at that page; more coming later). It was a terrific event.
We arrived at the Rock Island County Clerk’s office to a a flurry of activity. About a dozen friends came out to support us for the day, as well as Lindsey’s mom and brother. The Quad City Times (Davenport) as well as the Argus-Dispatch (Rock Island & Moline) sent reporters and photographers to cover the event. This was startling and gratifying, because as anyone who has ever invited press knows, you’re usually sending those press releases out into the ether. Our modest group was packed with rainbow flags and signs.
I said this then, and I’ll say it again: Lindsey and I have been beyond blessed by the support and love we’ve received throughout our five years together. We heard from dozens of friends and family members who couldn’t come, encouraging us for this event.
The event went as planned. We all walked in the Illinois office and presented our completed application. We were politely, if nervously, turned down, “Illinois doesn’t recognize marriage for same-sex couples.” The whole group of us walked to the Centennial Bridge. We got a lot of positive reactions from cars going by, and only a couple of negative ones. No one threw anything at us. The Iowa office welcomed us, and in a surreally-overphotographed moment, Lindsey handed in our form and we signed our names. Her brother Patrick acted as our legal witness, as Lindsey had for his marriage license. Ten minutes later, they printed our documents and we’re officially Party A and Party B. (Iowa allows you to check you choice of Bride, Groom, or Spouse on your license application, but both participants are legally Party A and Party B. Identifying your gender is optional; we did so that the Recorder’s Office can quantify the impact of equal marriage in Iowa. Yay statistics.)
Back in Rock Island, a few people watched the documentary which inspired this march, Heartland Transport, and then we discussed the state of marriage in Illinois, Iowa, and the country.
Lindsey’s mother spoke up a little. Lindsey’s mother has moved from unsure about this whole relationship to showing up at protest marches. This woman is amazing. Please, come out to your friends and family. They can surprise you. She spoke a moment on how it’s hard to come out as an ally, hard to talk about how her daughter is gay without being all “This is Lindsey, my gay daughter”, how it’s sometimes hard to see how visible and out she and I are. But then she said, “But I always taught them to speak up if something’s not fair.”
We need to keep up the movement. If you left a comment on one of our Facebook pages, if you read the page here at the blog, if you read the newspaper or saw it on the news, if you told your friends about your friends getting married in Iowa: do something to help. Call your Senator, call your State Reps, ask them about equal marriage in the country or in your state. Join a group. Ask your local LGBTQ rights group for something to do. Write a letter to your local paper’s editor. If you live in Illinois or Iowa and want to get involved, send us a message, we’ll hook you up. Speak out if you think this isn’t fair.