Over the past few weeks, things have changed.
In 2004, the conservative right politicized the gay marriage debate by riding a wave of constitutional referendums in order to try to legislate hate and give people unwarranted reason to fear gays.
"If gays marry, everything you've accomplished with your nuclear family will become worthless!" was the overall slogan of the GOP in the aftermath of San Francisco recognizing gay marriage. After numerous states across the country passed constitutional bans on gay marriage, Republicans seemed to feel safer. As if their concept of marriage was now safe. Then a California Court said that gays could marry and quickly a referendum (Prop 8) was pushed by conservatives to put a stop to this. Overall though, you have to figure conservatives were never THAT worried. I mean, sure CALIFORNIA is going to recognize gay marriage. It's California! It's full of liberals. Though it's the 5th largest economy in the world, it's another planet to conservatives. A lost cause from the beginning. California is a state likely to allow bats to marry dogs, so allowing gays to marry wasn't a shock. They could rest easy after Prop 8 passed, they had constitutional bans on gay marriage in effect in states across the country and now a referendum approved by public vote in arguably the most "liberal" of all those states. If you can stop it in California, you've pretty much stopped it for good, right?
Oh, but that's where things got interesting. A few weeks ago, Vermont's legislature passed legislation recognizing gay marriage. Conservatives must have thought, "Whatever. That's Vermont. It's Howard Dean country. 'Nuff said."
But then came Iowa. Precious Iowa. In the middle of the country. With it's moderate leanings and "heartland" mentality. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that to not allow gays to marry is unconstitutional. This turned all the conservatives on their asses and should signify the exclamation point to how this country has shifted ideologically. This isn't a liberal state like California making a "liberal" ruling. This is IOWA. If states were baseball players, Iowa would be the Republicans No. 6 hitter. Not always on their side, but decent and can be relied on to not do something crazy.
The ruling showed that conservatives are going to have their hands full in this debate over the next several years. Like whack-a-mole, you'll hit one state down only to see another come up. They're chasing an idea that society has finally caught up with. The seemingly foreign concept that all of us are equal and entitled to the same rights and privileges with our spouses regardless of sexual orientation.
I'm proud of the Hawkeye State and the judges on that court. I'm proud of gay-rights groups that keep fighting this, even in states where even us liberals assume we have no chance. Iowa is just the beginning, I can't wait to see the look on the conservative leaders' faces when we cut them at the jugular and get a decent ruling out of true red state.