I wonder how Archers — that’s what the citizens of Agincourt call themselves — may be celebrating Pride this weekend. Would we need Gay Pride if there had been no Gay Shame?
Howard was accidentally present at the first same-sex marriage in Fennimore County, though his column about it has been lost when the original blog shut down and I failed to transfer everything. Somewhere there may be a back-up file. For Iowans, the story begins with Varnum v. Brien, a lawsuit filed by six couples who had been denied marriage licenses. The 2007 decision in County Court was upheld unanimously by the Iowa Supreme Court on 03 April 2009. Licenses became available statewide on the 27th and Agincourt’s first ceremony took place not long after in a back booth at The Periodic Table restaurant. The ceremony was conducted by Rev Candace Varenhorst from Asbury United Methodist. I’ll hunt for Howard’s piece, because the vows were memorable.
Iowa’s court-based acceptance of same-gender marriage was joined by Minnesota’s legislative decision on 14 May 2013 and the first statewide marriage celebrations took place at midnight on August 1st. [We were there!] Ultimately Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality the Law of the Land. But if you thought the battle has been won, think again.
While no minister of the gospel has been forced to perform a same-sex ceremony — not one — clerks-of-court, justices-of-the-peace, and judges have refused to perform their secular duties based on sincerely-held religious beliefs [marriages are civil ceremonies; only weddings are religious]. Though public acceptance continues to rise, the issue is far from settled. Given its complexity (and the demographics of Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, represented by the Hon. Steve King), the day may not have gone smoothly.
While Agincourt doesn’t yet have a “Westboro,” there are conservative Christian denominations that not only refuse to accept the principle; they work to undo the progress that has been made:
- Is there an LDS stake? The Mormon church has contributed millions to legal efforts to fight marriage equity.
- For every UCC, UMC, UU and Episcopalian who supports gender equity, there are at least two Missouri or Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, miscellaneous Pentecostals, or Southern Baptists who take the opposing view — and put their money behind it.
- Father Dorffman at Christ-the-King probably doesn’t tow the party line, like so many of his Progressive predecessors (Bishop Nickless to the contrary), so let’s hope he doesn’t get found out.
So how Proud were my Archers?