Gay marriage made headlines and had the Fridays Live panel talking in November 2008, when California passed Proposition 8. The proposition, which made marriage illegal in the state, passed with 52 percent of the vote.
The hot-button issue is back in the news this week, but the latest headlines are coming out of Iowa. America's heartland has become the third state to legalize gay marriage. As of April 27, 2009, gay and lesbian couples in Iowa can officially and legally get married.
Nate says he's surprised gay marriage has been such a controversial issue. "I'm so in favor that everyone should have equal rights regardless of who you are or what you are or how you label yourself," he says. "The thought that this is such a huge controversy in our country in 2009—I'm not sure I get that."
If gay marriage were legal everywhere, Nate says he would want to have a wedding one day. "I think people don't necessarily understand is that. … When you want to make that commitment to the person you love, to the person you want to be with forever, you want to have that ceremony and be surrounded by your friends."
When it comes down to it, Nate says he's frustrated he doesn't have the same marriage rights as everyone else. "I don't want to be told that I can't do it," he says.
Maryfrances and Stephanie have been together for 12 years and have two young daughters together. Today, the Urbandale, Iowa, couple is planning to get married. Stephanie says she's not necessarily surprised that this change is happening in her home state. "It is a very progressive state, and actually, I think the saying is that 'As goes Iowa, so goes the nation,'" she says. "Hopefully that is what's going to happen with gay marriage."
Stephanie says she's getting married in a pink Tracy Reese dress like the one First Lady Michelle Obama wore on the cover of People magazine last month. "We have two gorgeous little girls that will have gorgeous little dresses," Maryfrances says. "I will just be wearing a white shirt so that they can all stand out."
When marriage licenses became available for homosexual couples on April 27, 2009, Maryfrances says she and Stephanie were one of the first couples in line. "Yesterday it all hit me," she says. "It occurred to me that this afternoon, not only am I marrying Stephanie, but more importantly, Stephanie's marrying me. … This afternoon, I know, without a doubt, that this is the person that I'm supposed to marry."