On the heels of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in Iowa, that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a rally in Council Bluffs drew support from both sides of the river.
No protesters showed up at the Playland Park celebration. However, dignitaries such as Senator Mike Gronstal and City Councilman Matt Walsh were in attendance.
Deputy Field Director for One Iowa, out of Des Moines, Matthew Skuya said, "What happened today in Iowa was a fundamental recognition of the human dignity of all people in the state. As a life-long Iowan, I've found, I've never been more proud of my state and to call it home."
Kim and Laurie Loncke of Omaha voiced their support of the ruling, alongside their three young children.
"July 4th will be fifteen years (of being together),” said Laurie. “We were married in San Francisco, but that didn't pan out. So we're here to celebrate Iowa."
In Nebraska, Kim added, “Insuring the kids through each other's work hasn't been possible." The couple is now considering relocating to Iowa so they can legally marry, sharing all the health and financial benefits that come with it.
"It's really just kind of hard to wrap my head around,” said Reva Evans. “Just proud and happy and amazed, just proud to be a part of history."
Evans and her partner Ingrid Olson were among those who filed suit against Polk County in December, 2005 after being denied a marriage license. It was that lawsuit that paved the way for Friday’s ruling.
"At that time, Reva was several months pregnant,” said Ingrid. “And we thought that, how could we bring a child into a world where we weren't standing up for something we believe in."
Their son, Jameson, is now two years old. His parents plan to get a marriage license in three weeks, when the ruling takes effect.
Olson says she believes this will be their happily ever after. She does not believe the ruling will not be challenged, at least not with success. "I think Iowa has lead the way. I think people are opening their hearts and their minds."
A new poll from the University of Iowa seens to supports Olson's take. It shows only one-third of the state’s residents oppose both civil unions and same sex marriage. However, only one-third of Iowans supported amending the state's constitution to allow gay marriage.
The random statewide telephone poll of 978 registered voters found that 36.7 percent of Iowans oppose recognition of gay marriage and civil unions. Overall, 26.2 percent of respondents support gay marriage and 27.9 percent oppose gay marriage but support civil unions. The poll was conducted March 23 through March 31. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percent for the full sample.
Nearly 60 percent of Iowans under age 30 support gay marriage, and three-fourths of Iowans under 30 favor some formal recognition of gay relationships. Across ages, support for gay marriage increases slightly if the Iowa Supreme Court sanctions it.
"Iowans may not be quite ready to support gay marriage completely, but they are ready to recognize same-sex relationships in some legal form," said Hawkeye Poll Director David Redlawsk.