Mr. Branstad: We’re proud of Iowa

One common thread through the Letters to Mr. Branstad we’ve received, is how proud people are of their state granting marriage equality ahead of most of our country.

I cannot put properly into words how proud I was of my state, Iowa, the state of my birth, when our courts ruled preventing same sex marriages was unconstitutional.

Marriage is an important binding institution for society, be it for gay couples, or straight. I am unable to wrap my mind around those that would take that right away from *anyone*.

I also do not know how to state, in a way that would be as meaningful as it actually is, how saddened I am to hear you vow to see our constitution altered to prevent the right to marry to same sex couples.

I ask you to see beyond what ever personal feelings you may have, and uphold that right, knowing that freedom is not freedom, unless it pertains to all.

I urge you to take the high road and prevent the tyranny of the majority from marginalizing a minority on a point that gives everything, and takes away nothing.
– Kirby, Webster City

Same-sex marriage is good for Iowa, and for those who are allowed to marry the one they love.

GLBT people have the same values as others: love, commitment, concern for their families, and a willingness to take on the responsibilities of marriage. GLBT people see the goodness in marriage and that is why we seek marriage equalities.

My spouse and I have grown in so many ways since marrying almost three years ago. I can see how my spouse has become much more mature and focused in her education and in our marriage. She is so much different than the woman who married me in 2007.

I urge you to leave same-sex marriage legal in Iowa. It harms no one and actually brings benefits, loving committed couples and stable families. This is something we should all want to see more of–not less.
– Sheila, Goodyear, AZ

As someone who was born and raised in Iowa, I have encountered a variety of stereotypes about Iowans since leaving the state in pursuit of my doctoral degree. I have remained steadfast in my depiction of Iowans as the most generous, thoughtful, hard-working, and open-minded citizens of the Midwest. I have also promoted the state as a terrific destination for my colleagues who are or will soon be searching for employment.

In the recent past, Iowa has gained a reputation across a country that is not only aligned with the traits that I listed above, but has exceeded the nation’s expectations. The legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Iowa has made a statement that the state of Iowa supports and upholds all of its citizens. It is with pride that I hear colleagues who previously knew nothing about Iowa considering it as a place to settle and grow. Moreover, it is with that same pride that I watch the young children in my family – still residents of the Hawkeye state – grow up in a land that teaches that freedom and equality are routes to progress and growth. I myself would love to return to Iowa to live, work, and raise a family in the one place that not only claims but embraces these ideals.

I understand that you will be receiving letters that will undoubtedly tell stories of how Iowa allows people to live lives that they could not live elsewhere, to have families in ways that they could not have in other places, and to feel a part of something larger that has only rejected them before. While I hope that you will consider carefully the messages of these letters, I urge you also to consider the extent to which denying rights to gay and lesbian couples not only hurts the wonderful individuals and families of our home state, but hurts the state as a whole and impedes the progress that has begun to take place.

Please do not follow in the footsteps of the states who have turned their backs on their own citizens. Please uphold the progress that has been made and the freedoms that have been granted to gay and lesbian couples and keep Iowa a state that all of us are proud of.
– Rebecca Brooker, proudly raised in Buffalo Center, IA