The last issue on any woman’s mind who was attending the Dinah Shore Weekend events in Palm Springs was politics. But it quickly became the hot topic on Friday when they discovered Iowa legalized gay marriage earlier that day.
“I’m blown away from this! Blown away!” says Angel Garron, a visitor from Atlanta who says she attended college in Iowa.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional. The Hawkeye State became the third state to allow same-sex marriages.
“There’s a lot of really nice people in the Midwest. It’s a lot more progressive than you think,” says Jennifer Van Horn of Indiana.
Brenda Van Cuick, from Wisconsin, adds: “In the Midwest, everything is so quiet. You feel more repressed to show who you are. But apparently behind the scenes, people are actively very supportive of us.”
News about Iowa’s legalization of gay marriage spread like wildfire around the Riviera Resort and Spa swimming pool.
Some guests were angered. They say the legalization in Iowa was a slap in the face of Californians.
“I grew up on the East Coast. You think of East Coast as progressive,” says Suzanne Westenhoefer, a famous lesbian comedian. “But, you think of California as being so pro-gay and so pro-women’s rights.”
Mariah Hanson founded the modern day Dinah Shore Weekend. She also serves on the board of Equality California, a grassroots organization lobbying for the legalization of gay marriage. Hanson says Proposition 8 would not pass if it was on the ballot today because, she says, more voters are better educated about the issue.
“There was a lot of messaging from the opponent that was very misleading and misrepresentative. This was basically a civil rights issue. This was about treating people equally,” Hanson says. “God bless you, Iowa. You’re doing the right thing.”