Quad City supporters of marriage equality rallied Wednesday night in celebration of Supreme Court rulings that struck down parts of both Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
At Davenport’s Unitarian Church, around 75 people celebrated the landmark decision with cheers, hugs, and tears.
“I went to my husband, and I kissed him and told him, ‘Today, the federal government recognizes our marriage.’ And I had tears in my eyes. Tonight’s for celebrating,” said Rev. Rich Hendricks of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities.
For many at the rally, there was lots to celebrate. The wife of a federal employee, Marsha Voigt-Zemo will now be entitled to her partner’s insurance, dental, and social security benefits. She called Wednesday’s validation a “tremendous feeling.”
“Even though we’ve been together for 26 years, married for four, I was not afforded any of those benefits that anybody else was. This just means so very much to both of us,” said Voigt-Zemo.
Signs and flags dotted the room Wednesday, as many called the mood “ecstatic.”
“It’s just great for all people, because this is a basic civil right. It should be this way,” said Deb Calsyn-Polson.
But even as the supporters rallied in Iowa, one of 12 states to legalize same-sex marriage, they recognized the work still left to be done.
“There are no second-class citizens, and I love that part. There shouldn’t be any second-class citizens. Of course, we know that’s still not exactly true, but we’re getting there,” said Hendricks.
According to a CNN poll, a majority of Americans — 55 percent — now support same-sex marriage. That number is up 11 percentage points since 2008, while 44 percent still oppose the issue.
Wednesday evening, many supporters cheered those numbers, as well as the Supreme Court decisions, as a sign of hope for the future.