Friday, March 07, 2014

Those marauding same-sex couples ...

Sixty-four percent of Iowans now --- five years later --- are generally supportive of same-sex marriage, according to results of the newest Iowa Poll reported upon in this morning's Des Moines Register.

For those who follow such things, April 5 will be celebrated (or mourned) as the fifth anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Varnum v. Brien that denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the state's Constitution.

That's a considerable increase from 2010, when a similar poll showed that only 44 percent of Iowans favored same-sex unions. The Supreme Court decision made Iowa only the third state to allow same-sex marriage; now there are 17 --- plus the District of Columbia. It's been an interesting five years.

The newest Register poll divided marriage equality supporters into two categories --- 28 percent of respondents were "proud" that Iowa was an equality state; 36 percent said it just "doesn't matter" to them. Only 34 percent expressed disappointment.

As might be expected, the results divided to some extent along party lines. Only 10 percent of Republicans were "proud," although larger numbers were in the "doesn't matter" class. Only 16 percent of Democrats were disappointed.

According to Iowa Department of Health figures, approximately 6,000 same-sex couples married in Iowa between 2009 and 2012, although the figure probably is somewhat higher --- Iowa does not require contracting couples to specify gender if they don't want to.


Minnesota became a marriage equality state --- the second in the Midwest --- last May, thanks to the state legislature; and began issuing licenses on August 1. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an interesting piece last weekend to mark the anniversary, noting that approximately 3,000 same-sex couples had married there since last fall.

Minnesota, of course, is considerably larger than Iowa, both in terms of acreage and population --- so that's not surprising.


Civil rights legislation in both Iowa and Minnesota outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when public accommodations are involved (Iowa adds gender identity). 

But so far the major kerfluffle in both states has involved the Gortz Haus Gallery near Des Moines, a wedding venue located in a rcycled church, that turned away a same-sex couple last August. The couple sued owners Betty and Richard Odgaard; the Odgaards responded with a suit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, seeking the right to discriminate.

But in general, there have been few if any reports of marauding same-sex couples invading small towns to force Christian vendors of pastries and floral tributes to serve them.


shoreacres said...

I was poking around looking for info on the Klan in Iowa back in the 20s and found your blog. I just thought I'd say hi, as my roots are right back in that area.

I was born and raised in Newton. My folks were from Melcher/Dallas, and my grandparents lived in Hiteman and Melcher. My great-great-great Grandpa, David Crowley, was one of the first members of the 34th Iowa that formed in Lucas County when the Civil War broke out. And my great-grandfather got his own article in the Chariton paper when, a widower at age 78 or some such he moved to Arkansas, married a young woman and proceeded to start a second family. He had 19 kids. My mother was so embarassed my aunt tells me she never spoke of him again.

Well, enough. I'm looking forward to browsing your blog for a little taste of home. One of these days I'll get back there myself (in Houston, now).

Frank D. Myers said...

Thanks for checking in! I'm going to have to see if I can find that article about your great-grandfather --- we don't get much excitement in Lucas County as a rule!

shoreacres said...

Here you go - this is from a letter I wrote to a Crowley cousin I turned up while doing some genealogical research.

"After Josephine died, Robert Crowley went down to Missouri where he had a farm. That's where he met Goldie Lemon. They did have a passle of kids, and when I asked if nineteen sounded about right, my aunt said yep.

She said the reason I never had heard any of the story is that my mother was so embarassed by the May/December marriage she never would talk about it or acknowledge any of the second family as kin. It was doubly bad because there was an article in the newspaper about Robert - because he'd attained such an age and still was fathering children! I don't know what newspaper that was, but I'd bet on Chariton. That ought to be fairly easy to track down.

My aunt said when Robert died family #1 and family #2 really were something to behold at the funeral. Goldie Lemon Crowley was weeping and wailing, and Lavonna (my aunt) said everyone wished she would just shut up."

Robert was the son of David and Annie Crowley. He farmed around there somewhere. There was a huge farm sale when he died.

One more family tale, from my dad's side. His sister, Thelma Matson, worked either in the Tax Assessor or County Treasurer's office in Chariton. She was convicted of embezzlement and spent some time "confined" around there somewhere. I didn't know any of this until my mother's sister finally told me a couple of years ago.

Apparently Grandma and Grandpa and some of the kids would go visit my aunt on Sundays. They'd take fried chicken, potato salad, cake - have a picnic of sorts. It's the most bizzare thing I've ever heard, but that's why I want to get to Chariton - to find out the details.

There's some good material here!

Frank D. Myers said...

Fascinating. Robert H. died 1944 in Waterloo and his obituary in The Waterloo Courier names both wives and seven surviving children by Josephine and eight surviving children by Goldie. He was buried in the Columbia Cemetery next to Josephine. His obituary in the Chariton newspaper mentions only Josephine and their children --- no mention whatsoever of Goldie and the younger eight. Whoops.