Friday 3 Apr 09
Hello everyone from the Virgin airline lounge at Heathrow, where i am waiting to fly back to NYC. I am happy to say I found two very exciting new items I'd like to share with you, about America's slow march towards treating its LGBT people as equals...
First from the Des Moines Register:"The Iowa Supreme Court this morning struck down a 1998 state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman. The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families. The decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the fourth nationwide, to allow same-sex marriages. Lawyers for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group that financed the court battle and represented the couples, had hoped to use a court victory to demonstrate acceptance of same-sex marriage in heartland America. Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay civil rights, said today’s decision could set the stage for other states. Socarides was was a senior political assistant for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin in the early 1990s. 'I think it’s significant because Iowa is considered a Midwest sate in the mainstream of American thought,' Socarides said. 'Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa. As they say during the presidential caucuses, 'As Iowa goes, so goes the nation.’'
and from the Burlington Free Press in Vermont:
The Vermont House voted 95-52 on Thursday night to allow same-sex couples to marry in Vermont.
The tally suggests it might be difficult for the House to override a promised gubernatorial veto of the bill that would need 100 votes, though supporters said they would push for that.
The vote came at 9 p.m. Thursday after four hours of impassioned debate on the bill in a chamber filled with supporters and opponents.
Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Hinesburg, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, spoke on the House floor about gays and lesbians in his community — carpenters and nurses and maple sugarers — and of his own relationship with his male partner.
“That’s who we’re talking about here today,” he said. “These couples are living everyday lives of ordinary and extraordinary significance.”
Lippert declared that the civil unions law he helped craft nine years ago could not provide complete equality. “People know what it means when you say you’re married,” he said.
Rep. Johanna Donovan, D-Burlington, agreed. “There’s only one thing truly equal to marriage and that’s marriage,” she said. “Now is the time to give civil unions a respectful burial.”
Of course there are struggles ahead, especially considering the Vermont governor has already said he will veto the bill, but it is a very positive day for civil rights in America, I think.