Gay-Marriage Ruling Belies Iowa's 'Bumpkin' Image

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 4:48 PM CDT
"We knew we could count on Iowa's leadership on civil rights issues," one gay-rights advocate said of last week's decision to legalize gay marriage.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – No doubt you snobby big-city, coastal types did a double-take last week when Iowa legalized same-sex marriage, but the state has a long tradition of avant-garde social positions, Rex Huppke writes in the Chicago Tribune. Its university was the first to admit women, it allowed mixed-race marriages 100 years before the Supreme Court OK'd them, and its caucuses put Barack Obama on the path to history.

“You don’t need a passport to cross the Hudson River, but many think you do,” says University of Iowa professor Linda Kerber, a native New Yorker who’s also lived in California. “These New Yorkers who say ‘Iowa? What?’, they’re being very provincial. They need a passport to go to France, and they go to France a lot more than they go to Iowa.”