|Couple says visibility the key to acceptance|
|Life in Pella|
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Although it took John and Lowell Oliver-Shaw years to become a couple, once they got together, they knew marriage wasn't far off.
"John proposed, and we thought we'd get married on a trip to California," Lowell said. "But then they passed Prop 8, so we decided to wait. Then I had a conference coming up in Boston, we talked about marrying there."
But as the conference grew closer, so too did a decision in Varnum v. Brien, a marriage equality case before the Iowa Supreme Court. John and Lowell decided to put their plans on hold again until the court ruled.
"We're so glad we waited so we could get married at home," Lowell said. "After the court ruling, we looked at a calendar and realized the ruling anniversary would be on a Saturday. And we thought, 'How perfect is that?'
"Once the court ruling came down, we were determined to have the wedding in Pella. We didn't want to go running away, and we didn't care if people were picketing or voicing outrage or if people were coming from Kansas to protest."
But the wedding at the Pella Opera House went off without a hitch. The couple found out later from friends and family that people walking by did ask who was getting married.
"We were downtown being pretty obvious with our photographer taking photos of us outside, so people were asking about it," Lowell said.
"Or they would just wander into the opera house and see our picture there by the door," said John.
The couple says they were also very careful about whom they invited to the wedding, not sending invitations to family members they thought would not be supportive. They made it very clear that if guests were not going to be affirming, they should ignore their invitations.
One uncle wrote and said he and his wife would not be attending because they didn't support the marriage, but the guests who did end up packing the opera house -- more than half from Pella --showed just how much they did support the couple.