Gay Iowan Transplants to California Ponder Today's Gay Marriage Ruling

Categories: Politics
They are a rare species, these gay Iowans who have moved out to the Golden State, the perfect journalistic formula to comment on today's news of the Iowa Supreme Court approving gay marriage while its California colleagues mull this same issue. But we put on our intrepid reporter cap and found two such individuals. (Actually, it turned out to be extremely easy, seeing that this reporter hails from Iowa herself.)

Neither transplanted Iowan said that he or she was planning a wedding on the Bridges of Madison County anytime soon, but they said they were proud that the state would give them the chance.
Chris MacKenzie, a 29 year old from Ottumwa, Iowa, who now lives in Long Beach, said this is vindication for all the crap Midwesterners take once they move to the West Coast.

"Most people I talk to in California are like, 'Idaho?' People are like, 'Did you grow up on a farm?' Especially since people don't know too much about Iowa other than corn and the Bridges of Madison County, it's a good thing people recognize it's not just one of those Midwestern states no one knows about. I'm glad they did something progressive."

Actually, this is the second bit of progressive news from the corn state that's taken the coast-dwellers by surprise in the last year: The state that is 94 percent white chose Democratic nominee Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the presidential caucus. 

"I think people underestimate Iowans. If you take people from the West Coast they think Midwesterners are really closed minded." Still, the fact that Iowa is from the heartland sets sets an example for the nation: "If Iowa and the Midwest can make [gay marriage] legal, I don't think any other state has any excuse," MacKenzie says.

Yet as we've learned in California, it's not over. Conservative Iowans could come up with their own version of Prop. 8.

Jessi Todden, an out lesbian from Indianola, Iowa, who moved to L.A. to pursue TV writing says she's not sure how gay marriage would sit with Iowan voters. "I know my family is very open and accepting but not everyone is the same way. My best friend [from Iowa] is a Republican Christian conservative and although she loves me, she's still opposed to gay marriage." 

Todden says she received the news with surprise today when a friend forwarded her the story from the New York Times. "Today I was very proud of Iowa and proud to be from there. If this serves as a bellwether in the Midwest, then maybe more states will follow suit. I think that's amazing."

But Todden says ultimately, the pressure is still on the California Supreme court to overrule  Prop. 8. "I hope the push for gay marriage in California continues. I think California will serve as a bellweather state as far as approving gay marriage nationwide."
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