PREFACE: Feel free to skip this one if you know it's going to rile you. We don't have to agree on everything. Abusive comments will be deleted as they appear; negative comments will be decided on a case by case basis; positive comments will mostly be allowed to stand, but I warn commenters not to go off attacking broad categories of people. The decision about which comments are abusive / negative / positive is, of course, mine.
The Iowa Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in Varnum v. Brien by 8:30 AM (local time) on April 3. This case could, potentially, overturn Iowa's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. The "Brien" in the case name is Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien (Polk County = Des Moines, for all intents and purposes), who is being sued by six same-sex Iowa couples for denying them marriage licenses in 2005.
The District Court judge in the case, Judge Robert Hanson, originally sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that the due process and equal protection guarantees in the Iowa Constitution made it unconstitutional for the state to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples; he subsequently put a hold on the ruling pending a decision from the Iowa Supreme Court.
This, obviously, is a kind of big deal for me and the husband, and I'm kind of anxious about it. It's not so much that there's that much at stake here, exactly, at least not at the moment: we can't file taxes jointly, but, you know, tax-filing is a fairly small part of my life, and I'm not expecting that to matter a whole lot. But I do worry, sometimes, about what would happen if. If I were to die, I don't know that my parents would necessarily try to prevent the husband from inheriting my stuff (and it's not like there's that much stuff anyway; nothing of any real value), but they're not necessarily big fans of his either, and the law would give them the right to if they wanted. (I'm fairly certain that the husband's parents wouldn't stand in the way if the situation were reversed.)
If one of us were to wind up in the hospital, I'm not sure how that would work, whether we'd be able to see one another. Iowa City is about as gay-friendly as Iowa gets, which is why we like it here, but I'm unclear on whether or not there are any specific laws in place covering that situation, so I don't know how that would go. And there are a number of other things like that, things I haven't even thought of, that -- well, I mean, it's not like it keeps me up nights. But there's always that low-grade anxiety in the background. So it'd be nice to have that dealt with.
I don't know how optimistic to be about this decision. I don't really know the court in question, I haven't seen anything about how people think it's going to go, and I've had kind of a string of personal unpleasantness lately that either means I'm on a losing streak or that I'm due for a win, so either way it'll seem inevitable after the fact. I also don't have any direct control over the outcome, and I'm not willing to pretend that I do by praying, crossing fingers, thinking positive thoughts of my own or soliciting positive thoughts from others. Which is uncomfortable, obviously, but it's really not up to me, and I don't see any particular harm in acknowledging that.
I know straight couples have their anxieties too: what if something happens to the kids? What if one of us gets sick? Etc. But the laws acknowledge them as a unit, too. As far as the state of Iowa is concerned today, the husband and I are just kinda friends who have shared some expenses for a couple years, and I deserve as much say on his life and stuff as I did with those of my college roommates, which is to say, basically none. Will that still be the case tomorrow? I have no idea. I really don't. This is a really uncomfortable situation to be in, and, I submit, not one that a country which truly believed in equal treatment of its citizens, and permitting behavior which does not damage the liberty or property of another, should ever put its citizens in. That is, I think even if the decision tomorrow goes the way I would like, I think the fact that it even had to be decided by a court in the first place is fundamentally wrong.
Change the things I can, accept the things I can't, wisdom to know the difference, yada yada.
While we all wait, let's enjoy some music videos (Be warned: very few people will like all five):