Welcome to Gay State No. 3. Population: 3 Million


Any American is free to marry in Iowa. But don’t expect most of your homestates to recognize it. Becoming the third state in the union to grant full equality to gays and lesbians (if you ignore California), county clerks might see a (brief) burst of out-of-staters descending upon Iowa to join history. Except only Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (and later this year, Vermont) will care about the paperwork. Not that it’s stopping the gays.

Like Chicago’s Chad Gearig and Thom Howe, who tell the Des Moines Register the three-hour drive is worth it. There’s also the group option: Book a party bus with several other couples and save on transportation!

Under the U.S. Constitution, Iowa’s gay marriages (or other states’ legal gay marriages) should have to be recognized by all states, since the “full faith and credit clause” requires legal marriages in one state to be valid across the land. Except that brilliant piece of legislation President Bill Clinton passed nixes all of that!

It’s all part of Iowa’s own brand of “live and let live.” While plenty of citizens may not agree with same-sex marriage, their belief in “do whatever the hell you want, so long as it doesn’t affect me” trumps it. Notes the New York Times: “In 1839, the Supreme Court for what was then the territory of Iowa refused to recognize a slave as a possession, years before the United States Supreme Court would rule in an opposite fashion, against Dred Scott. In 1868 and 1873, the court issued rulings favoring desegregating schools and public accommodations, almost a century before the United States Supreme Court heard Brown v. Board of Education. Iowa was the first state, in 1869, to permit women to practice law.”