The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Ed: Supreme Court made ruling on gay marriages in Iowa

Last Friday, many Grinnell students awoke to the news that the Iowa Supreme Court had ruled a statewide ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The ruling, which was unanimously agreed upon by the seven Justices, effectively opens the door for same-sex couples to wed in the state of Iowa. The news was surprising and inspiring, and will have a gargantuan impact on individuals, the College, and the nation.

As a state, Iowa is often erroneously lumped into the conservative “Bible Belt,” or discarded as a mundane “Fly-Over State.” The assumptions run from coast-to-coast, and the reactions to the court decision exhibited national stereotypes of Iowa at their strongest. There was talk of corn, tractors and farmers, but mostly surprise at the willingness of our Midwestern state to join the ranks of only three other states, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and become part of the small proportion of our nation that recognizes same-sex marriages. With the ruling, that stereotype was jolted, and more importantly, an example was set for other states. Days after Iowa’s repeal of the ban, Vermont legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage. In the face of a more LGBT-Friendly Iowa, hopefully states that pride themselves in their progressive nature, such as California or New York, will feel the pressure to follow our lead.

However, plenty of concerns still remain. The ruling is reason enough to celebrate, but not enough to end the work that has been done thus far towards creating a more equal state. The possibility of a vote to allow a constitutional convention by 2011, in which a ban could be reinstated, is worrisome. The decision was made by a group of seven justices, and a vote on the issue could potentially change the climate of equality within the state. So take the enthusiasm harvested this past week, and carry it into the weeks and months to come. Our state, country and, most importantly, our neighbors will be better off for it.

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