I am not one for celebrity news, and normally I turn a blind eye to gossip. I couldn't care less who tweeted what or who wore what and where. There are more important things to think about. But in 2008 when I read that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had made a commitment to one another to wait to be married until all couples, including gay and lesbian couples, could do so, I was moved.
To have the "it" couple make a commitment to forgo their own wedding -- a personal and momentous occasion -- sent a clear message that marriage equality is important.
In 2008, in the midst of the battle against Proposition 8, what could be better than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on our side? Of course, it wasn't enough to counter the misinformation, half-truths, and millions of dollars spent by our opposition, but it helped.
We recently learned that, at the urging of their children, the couple will move ahead and plan their wedding. While this was disappointing news, I understand the desire of their children to see their parents make this commitment to one another and to mark this momentous event. Their desire to have a wedding underscores just how important marriage is to families. Not only does it matter to new families in Iowa, but it matters to famous Hollywood couples, too.
And so, I speak for the entire staff at One Iowa and congratulate the family on their upcoming nuptials. However, we urge them to stand strong in their commitment to marriage equality because they are an incredibly powerful ally in our fight for full equality. That being said, I have a message for the Pitt-Jolie family:
First of all, a warm and hearty congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! You have a beautiful family and I send you all of my best wishes and prayers.
Let's get down to business. I understand the pressure from the children to get married, but I know that you don't want to abandon the LGBT community in this struggle for marriage equality. It is clear that we need a compromise. So I propose Iowa. Get married here in Iowa.
Hear me out!You held off on a wedding to make a statement in support of your LGBT brothers and sisters who couldn't get married. But here in Iowa, we value all families, so make a statement by getting married HERE in solidarity with the Iowa couples who have exercised their freedom to marry. Sure, you could go to New York or Connecticut or Massachusetts, but what sends a stronger message of equality for all Americans than coming to Iowa? It worked for Obama! A few pros:
- Iowa is breathtakingly beautiful in the summer, fall, and spring. I would advise against December.
- Iowa Caucuses have prepared us for the arrival of high profile celebrities. From Anderson Cooper to Bill O'Reilly, we are ready!
- Iowa was the first non-coastal state to extend the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples. We were the third state to do so nationwide. And we are the ONLY state in the Midwest with marriage equality. We are the heartland and we are the heartbeat of this movement.
- Who doesn't love Field of Dreams?
Iowa is a fantastic place and when you get right down to it, what could send a clearer message to Americans that marriage equality is a good thing for all American families? Iowa is a state of hard-working, tax-paying people who are rooted in values like fairness and treating people with respect above all else. I know I probably sound like a politician, but I truly love Iowa and am proud of this state's rich heritage.
We are a state that has consistently valued the civil rights of its citizens. We were the first free state at our founding and we were the first state to extend education opportunities to women. And now we find ourselves at the forefront of the movement for marriage equality across the country.
This year we're celebrating three years of marriage equality and contrary to what some may believe, the sky has not fallen. But, we still have a long way to go. We need people to realize that the fight for equality is right here.
If we can win the hearts and minds of the people in the Midwest -- we win. So I invite you to join us in Iowa and send a strong message that marriage equality is a good thing for America and American families.
Get married here. Celebrate our equality and we will stand with you as your extended and loving family.
Donna Red Wing
P.S. Oh, and have your guests register with One Iowa. Kidding! Kind of.