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THROWBACK THURSDAY: When Gay Marriage Became Legal in Iowa

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This is a story from the WQAD News 8 archives from April 2009 with reporter Pam Cunningham.

On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down a law banning same-sex marriage in the state.

That same day, same-sex couples and their friends who support them came together at the Unitarian Church in Davenport to cheer this historic day.

"Bill and I have been together for 24 years," said Tim Hart from the pulpit of the church.

For Tim Hart and Bill Schmidt, who committed their lives together back in 1984, this Iowa Supreme Court ruling doesn't validate their existing relationship.

"And it puts on the same basis as every other married couple in the state," said Hart.

Heterosexual couples might not have matching wardrobes, but Tim and Bill wore matching red shirts.

"This is the first time that this has really ever happened," said Bill Schmidt.  "And we didn't realize it until we sat down."

But they do have protections under the law that Hart and Schmidt didn't have before today's ruling.

"It's really, it's really unbelievable," said Hart.  "It's just a great thing, a great thing."

They weren't the only couple surprisingly happy.   Dennis and Mary Ellen Frist are hugging each other and have tears of joy for their son and son-in-law.

"They'll no longer be discriminated for health insurance, taxes, for federal aid, and anything and it's a wonderful moment," said Mary Ellen Frist.

"The beauty of America is that with discrimination, if it's proved that there is discrimination, the minority can win," said Dennis Frist.

State Sen. David Hartsuch says he represents the majority against gay civil marriage...

"It would still be two years before we could modify the Constitution and in the meantime if we create, make Iowa into a Las Vegas for gay marriage, what would happen to those marriages two years down the road if we did change the Constitution."

Tim Hart says in the short term, he believes these marriages will be safe and in the long term, too.

"I think Iowans will realize that, hey, it's time to do this.  Iowa has always been a leader."

According to "The Des Moines Register", between April 2009 and March 2010, 2020 same-sex couples were married in Iowa.

815 were from the state.  Most of the rest were from neighboring states including Illinois.