Tag Archives: iowa

“If this happens during your wedding, I will fix it.”

My dear friend David sent this to us. Good man. He is ready for any emergency.

“FORMER DAVENPORT, IA—Immediately following the performance of a same-sex marriage ceremony Sunday afternoon at Holy Christ Almighty Lutheran Church on Lincoln Avenue, the city of Davenport, IA and all 99,685 of its residents were reportedly smitten into oblivion by the merciless wrath of God and flung into the deepest bowels of eternal hell…”

In reply, Lindsey sent this: “I can’t seem to find the Moline gay district.” Ten years old, still spot-on.

Party A and Party B

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.

Marriage within walking distance

For those of you with little patience for rambling, the shortcut is: click the tab above 1 Mile March. We’re doing it the old-fashioned way, by walking across bridges.

Lindsey grew up in an area which I would refer to as “down” as in “we drove down to Moline” (this isn’t true; before I met her we never drove down there), despite being pretty exactly due west of the city (aka “Chicago”).

I-80 is the red line/WikiCommons

Illinois is slightly larger than England (postcolonial, where the sun sets the usual once per day) and similarly long, north to south. Roughly, one third of its population lives south of Interstate 80. A further third live in the northeast corner of the state, the “Chicagoland area”. The remaining third live in the “collar counties”, everything west of Chicago and north of I-80.

I grew up in Chicago, which, as you can see at my local library, is its own state:

Tri-state area?/photo mine

Despite this handicap, I developed a fondness for my home state of Illinois. Rolling fields, songbirds, terrifyingly complex monocrop agriculture, impossibly corrupted politics, my grandparents’ vegetable garden.

Iowa, though, is a state which I love dearly and hope to write more on later. Iowa holds my imagination and is what I hold when I talk about the Midwest. Lindsey and I are getting our marriage license this weekend. We have to go to Iowa for it. Again, it’s remarkable luck that this place which we loved anyway is the place which will recognize our love. It’s idiotic that the same can’t be said of our own homestate.

Can we pause for a second on the word “state”? What a great word. noun 1.the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes … 10.the body politic as organized for civil rule and government

Anyways. Where were we. Oh yes, a protest. Check out the tab at the top of the page that says “1 Mile March”. My relationship rights dissolve when I cross a river, and that pretty much sucks. If you’re in Iowa or Illinois this weekend, you should come help out. It’ll be a good time.

Also, the Quad Cities are hosting their Pride Fest on Sunday June 6! Lindsey promises there will be rainbow balloons!

One Iowa spotlight

One Iowa has reposted our first blog entry on their blog: “Rachel & Lindsey”.

For a love-fest you can always check out their “Our Stories” section.

All of which reminds me, dear hivemind:

  • Rec me some blogs for a blogroll (I have a list going already).
  • Rec me some companies, products, artists, what-have-you. I’m going to try to have a “recommends” post at least once a week.

Queer + wedding related is a bonus. Thanks everybody! And thanks, One Iowa.

The middle of the story.

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.