To my recollection, it was a warmish Friday morning. First thing in the morning I go to do my ablutions. Part of the routine is to turn on the radio, get the news and comment to start the day. Radio choice was NPR in those days.
Obama had been in office a couple of months. The world was on the brink of what might become the worst depression ever. Every day was another litany of depressing economic news. It was a frightening world then.
So the first news of the day was a shocker. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously (UNANIMOUSLY!) voted that Iowa’s marriage laws were unconstitutional since they discriminated against gay couples.
Well, boy let me tell you you don’t want to hear something like that with your mouth full of toothpaste. While cleaning up, I listened very closely. Yep that was what the man said. The news was followed by analysis. Most of the analysis went something like “This one is hard to believe, but out in Iowa……..”
So in a state of fog I called a close friend. When she answered instead of saying “hello” she said “Yes, it is true!” I responded “Really? Are you sure?” She said “Yes!” I am sure I must have said something back, but all I remember was that we both had a short little happy cry and then gurgled a “good bye.”
I spent the rest of the day reading and wondering. I was wondering just how the crazy right wing, those who want to control our thoughts and bodies, would respond to this obvious affront to their control. Most likely their response would be way over the top.
We then went to the Old Capitol in the afternoon. We figured that if there would be celebrating that is where it would happen. And it did. Can’t remember what exactly went on that night. Just a lot of people being very friendly to each other. And smiles, so many smiles everywhere I looked. Another group of humans were just elevated to the status of human.
The next morning we went to a legislative forum nearby. Every Democrat I saw had a smile. I talked to my state senator. Told him we had gone to Iowa City to celebrate the previous night. Told him neither me nor my wife caught “the gay” from anyone. He roared.
Well, that was ten years ago next Wednesday.
Ten years later, revenge is still going on.
I was right about the fringe right wing. Led by Bob Vander Plaats, they plotted out a strategy to get back at those Supreme Court justices. Their strategy to start with was to push to get them voted out of office. They won round one taking out 3 justices in the retention vote, including Chief Justice Marsha Thurness.
If I recall correctly, the second and third retention votes did not remove any other justices. Therefore their revenge was unfulfilled. They needed a new strategy.
Now that strategy is being rammed through the far right Republican legislature. The plan is to take Iowa’s much admired justice appointment system, trash it and replace it with one where they believe they will basically be in charge of appointing justices that will do their bidding.
Iowa’s judicial appointment system is usually cited as the model for the country in doing the best that can be done in removing as much partisan politics as possible. So, some 10 years later, as the radical far right dismantles this system and turns Iowa’s judiciary into another cesspool of partisanship, you have to really wonder what a super motivator hate can be.
But ten years later marriage equality is the law of the land. Most people accept it. Most people are either related to a gay person or know at least one. Letting every person have the right to share their lives and possessions with whomever they choose seems fair to most people.