Editorial: One Iowa, It’s time to talk about gay marriage

January 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

MASON CITY – While Iowa was at the eye of the political storm when its Supreme Court approved gay marriage in 2009, it’s time now to start talking, not fighting, say members of One Iowa.

“A conversation is long overdue,” said Troy Price, One Iowa Executive Director. “We’ve seen this issue of marriage equality really get lost in the political fight.”

One Iowa is the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender advocacy organization, committed to full equality for LGBT individuals, including the freedom to marry.

Price, along with Freedom to Marry Founder Evan Wolfson were in Mason City on Tuesday to discuss the status of gay marriage discussion in Iowa and the nation.

Also on hand was Dean A. Genth of Mason City, co-founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)-North Iowa and state chairman of the Council of Iowa PFLAG chapters.

Gay marriage has been hotly debated both in legislative and religious circles.

But now “it’s time to talk about what gay marriage means – and marriage that its heart is about people, not issues, Price said.

It is a timely conversation, agreed Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a national partner with One Iowa. He said there has been a “tremendous surge” in public opinion since Iowa took the lead in allowing gay marriage.

“The rest of the country has followed,” he said.

Some polls public opinion polls put approval of gay marriage as high as 53 percent; 15 years ago, that was 27 percent, Wolfson said.

“And much of that increase came after 2009, he said.

“We see hearts and minds changing,” he said. “Why does marriage matter? Gay people want to get married … and just like anybody, it’s about love, commitment, connection and family.”

One Iowa is working hard to illuminate what gay marriage is really about, Price agreed.

Some is about information – such as found on the One Iowa’s new website that invites gay Iowans to tell their stories about why marriage is important to them – and participation in the “House Party” program. The program is just what it sounds like: Inviting friends into homes, in informal settings, to discuss why marriage is important to gay couples.

One Iowa has also created a speaker’s bureau that has become active and is partnering with college LGBT groups in a College Home Program.

On the political front, the group hopes to work and partner with former Iowa State Sen. Jeff Angelo, a Republican, who is working to raise awareness and support gay marriage.

Genth said his marriage to Dr. Gary Swenson in 2009 brought with it “an avalanche of emotion” when they realized that finally, their union was recognized by the Iowa Constitution.

“We want that now on the federal level,” adding that their marriage becomes void the minute they enter another state.

“It’s horrifying, going from state to state, and not having the same recognition that you have in Iowa.”

Click here to read the full article from the Globe Gazette
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Entry filed under: News.

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