Representative Elesha Gayman

October 31, 2012 at 8:58 am

On October 11th, my husband and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.  We didn’t plan for it to coincide with National Coming Out Day, as we are a heterosexual couple, but the occasion gave me pause to reflect on my own marriage and the challenges many face for the basic right to make a commitment and partnership with a person they want to share their life with.

I was sitting in a unique spot as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives in 2009 when the ruling came down that all Iowans had the freedom to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.  It was a proud day for me as an Iowan and I immediately thought about my friends and family members that would now have the same opportunity to marry that I had.  But in that controversial yet unanimous ruling I also saw some of the worst come out in individuals who did not believe in marriage equality for all.  It was in these individuals that I had the first inkling of what my GLBTQ friends must endure in a society where equality is a constant struggle.

My wedding was a small affair, with my husband and I saying our vows in a tiny chapel in a French Château.  In that chapel, my husband and I made a commitment.  We made a commitment to one another and to God and at no time did we have to consider what the government deemed legal or illegal.  Our wedding day was about us, our love, and the future we were vowing to build together.  At no point has anyone’s ability to marry changed the integrity of the commitment we made to one another in that chapel.

Marriage is a deeply personal commitment and something I believe all people should have the opportunity and fundamental right to enter into.  I am proud to come from a state where we have a legacy of valuing civil rights and I hope that we continue to blaze the trail for equality for all.

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