Iowa marriage, Zach Wahls and getting involved

A little over a week ago, on January 1, the Iowa House of Representatives met to discuss the proposed House Joint Resolution 6, an amendment to the state constitution that “specifies marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state.” (Full text of the amendment here)

The amendment sought to overturn the April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that recognized limiting a civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

Zach Wahls, a 19 year old student at University of Iowa, spoke against the proposed amendment, stating that “the sexual orientation of [his] parents has had zero effect on the content of [his] character.”

Sadly, the amendment passed. It will now go to the senate, where, hopefully, it will get smashed to smithereens.

Zach Wahls’ speech is inspiring–not just because of the content, but because of the fact of it. That a freshman or sophomore in college wrote a speech, put on a suit, stood up in a public forum and fought for something. That takes guts. That’s pretty awesome.

I work with a bunch of kids who go to Bob Jones University, a really far-right religious school. I’ve been preached at and witnessed to and urged to consider the fleeting nature of life again and again (and again and again….) They are persistent like you would not believe. Luckily, after serving my term in my own really far-right religious school, I’ve become immune. This prodigal son is happy to remain so.

The religious-types are just so fervent with their proselytizing. It’s crazy. I remember friends of mine, preacher-boys in training, who would put on suits every Saturday and stand on a street cornerĀ for hours, telling people about impending eternity. My entire family spent most weekends talking to people in housing developments, trying to get kids to ride our bus to Sunday School.

It makes me wonder what could be accomplished if the energy of the left was harnessed as well as the energy of the right is. We have student union right-to-life groups, putting little crosses everywhere on campus. Why not a more vocal right-to-choice/get-your-decisions-off-my-body group? It seems that we’ve ceded the moral fervor to the conservatives, when honestly, there’s much more reason to get fervent about the inequalities still in existence in America.

It takes time to get involved. Honestly, it takes time to figure out where to get involved. But if we don’t (if I don’t) speak, then the only ones speaking are the far-right conservatives. And that is unacceptable.