I’ve been in Des Moines all morning, tracking developments and pounding out a Sunday column on deadline. Maybe be you caught my on-the-scene tweets as the ruling was announced.
My late take? I’m not sure what I can add to the avalanche of reaction to this landmark ruling, 7-0 for striking down the state’s ban on gay marriages. Obviously, since I’ve written numerous times about my support for legal gay marriage, I was pleased with the ruling and proud of how it fits into Iowa’s civil rights legacy.
I’ve seen a lot of scenes this morning that underscore the very different impacts of this ruling.
I saw a hopeful 8 a.m. prayer vigil organized by gay marriage opponents turn into a wake once the ruling was released. The court’s rejection of their arguments for sustaining the ban was stunningly complete. Iowa Family Policy Center leader Chuck Hurley and others then walked to the Statehouse, where they hope to win the next round by convincing lawmakers to put a constitutional ban on the ballot.
“Courts do not determine law,” said former state lawmaker Danny Carroll of Grinnell. “The people determine law.”
At the other end of downtown, I saw six couples who filed the lawsuit ending the ban as they were told of the court’s ruling. There was joy and hugs and relief.
It reminded me of how people look after they take the US citizenship oath. And in a way, they did finally become full-fledged Iowans.
“I’d like to introduce you to my fiance'” said Kate Varnum of Cedar Rapids, along with her partner Trish Varnum. “I never thought I’d be able to say that.”
“We’re elated, so proud,” said Dawn Barbouroske of Iowa City, who stood with Jennifer Barbouroske and the couple’s two children.
About the only folks without much interesting to say are the state’s Democratic political leaders. They’ve issued fence-sitting statements trying to avoid taking a stand either way.
Here’s Gov. Chet Culver’s take:
“The decision released this morning by Supreme Court addresses a complicated and emotional issue, one on which Iowans have strong views and opinions on both sides. The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the Attorney General, before reacting to what it means for Iowa.”
Iowans have strong views, well, except for the governor.
My Sunday column looks ahead, to whether this ruling has staying power. Regardless, this is an extraordinary day in the state’s history and will have a hefty impact, both here and elsewhere.
I’ll post the column here Saturday.