The Day Don't Ask Don't Tell Ended in Iowa
The day ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ ended for the country was an odd day for Iowans. On one hand, it was one of the most celebrated days because it marked the end of inequality in the military. On the other, it was a day of fear; because the Democratic majority in Iowa’s Senate was possibly ending, and a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage was rearing its ugly head…again.
The military directive of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is officially finished. Now, the soldiers of this country are free to be as proud of who they are, as much as they are proud of the country they fight for. There is no need to hide away in their selective closets; they are now free to march, holding their flags high. The American flag right next to the rainbow one. It’s an emotional image, as it should be. America is proud of their soldiers, and now we can be proud of our GAY soldiers as well.
President Barack Obama stated as he signed the repeal:
"As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love," he said. "As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members."
Now every man or woman regardless of sexual orientation, color or creed can choose to put their life on the line to protect the lives and rights of others. It is an amazing day for all Americans. And yet, with this amazing right affirmed, Iowans are afraid to lose another right—the right of marriage.
The Iowa Senate has had a Democratic majority that has put off a ban on same sex marriage, however; this majority is only one seat and it is a seat that is now up for election. A special election, actually, that can break the Democratic majority. Now, not all Republicans are bad, but historically the party is against same sex marriage and has been in Iowa. The House has already passed a ban against gay marriage and without a Democratic majority in the Senate it is feared the ban would be able to pass. With one more Republican seat in the Senate, it would be one more step towards Iowans losing their rights, and ending marriages across the state.
One Iowa Executive Director Troy Price stated:
“Until now, we have been able to prevent a discriminatory and unconstitutional marriage ban from going on the ballot with pro-equality supporters in the Senate. But marriage equality is now facing a serious and credible threat. If we lose this seat, we lose a majority in the Senate and we face a marriage ban on the ballot.”
The future in Iowa is murky, to say the least. While we celebrate our gay soldiers now being acknowledged and given the rights they deserve. The fear of that one Senate seat hides in the shadows, because it could be the vote that ends marriage equality in Iowa. And so while we celebrate our out and proud gay soldiers, remember that not all wars are fought abroad. That the battle for equality is still being fought at home and that vigilance is also a mark of a soldier.