Monday is off to a cloudy start in the Quad Cities, but the sun is already shining brightly across much of Iowa and it’s also a nice, beautiful day in Boston, Massachusetts. And, the day is getting better.
Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is awarding the “Profile in Courage Award” to three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were voted out of office in November 2010 after the court unanimously made marriage equality the law in the Hawkeye State in a 2009 ruling.
Kennedy says that the justices “knew when they were writing this decision that it was gonna be a pioneering decision and a landmark decision and would face a lot of popular opposition. They also were following very carefully the Iowa constitution and the rights that it gives to its citizens.”
In commending Justices Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit, and David Baker, Kennedy says, “the three judges are interesting and courageous on many levels, like many of the people who get this award, they don’t consider that they are doing anything particularly courageous, they just feel they’re doing what’s right, they’re doing their job.”
While the judges will be awarded for their decision today, conservative groups led by the likes of hateful, homophobic, and failed career politician Bob Vander Plaats, spent about one million dollars on a political campaign to have the judges removed from office. The three judges chose not to campaign for themselves to avoid tarnishing the judiciary process with dirty politics.
There is still talk of amending the Iowa constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages with flip-flop Governor Terry Branstad leading the way.
Meanwhile, a February 2012 “Des Moines Register” poll shows that 56% of Iowans are against banning same-sex marriage. Only 38% of those polled want the amendment banning same-sex marriage.
ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Putting politics and religion aside, in the first year of marriage equality in Iowa, 2,020 same-sex couples married. This accounted for 10.1% of total marriages. Of those 2,020, 40% of the couples were from Iowa and the rest were mostly from the neighboring states of Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska.
A study titled, “Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Iowa: Sales Tax”, conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, found that since marriage equality came to Iowa in 2009, the resulting spending on wedding arrangements and tourism provided an additional $12 to $13 million to the state and local economy.
The study also found that same-sex marriages have likely added between $858,000 and $930,000 in tax revenue to the state.
THERE IS HOPE
Caroline Kennedy, thank you very much for honoring these three courageous and intelligent people. To Justice Ternus, Justice Streit, and Justice Baker, and the other four Justices still in office, thank you for making it possible for me to marry the person I love.
May peace be with you.