Despite a recent vote in the Iowa House of Representatives to roll back the clock on marriage equality, a number of Iowans continue to make fair-minded, emotional appeals for supporting the rights of all committed couples to marry. First came the moving testimony of Zach Wahls, an Iowa college student raised by two moms. And more recently, an 80-year old grandmother named Jean posted a YouTube video about how anti-gay discrimination impacts her family.

“When our son came out to us in 1980, we were stunned, confused and angry….years later, after the shock wore off and we saw the life our son had created with his future husband Bob, I realized that he is still my son – and that in many ways, nothing has changed,” says Jean. “The actions and words of some affect my son, his husband, my family and my grandchildren. My son is not an issue. He is a person, just like you.”

Iowa is currently one of five states and the District of Columbia that issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples – but the security of marriage equality in Iowa cannot be taken for granted. Several months before the February House vote, three state Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality were ousted from the bench following an unprecedented campaign waged by well-funded anti-gay interest groups. 

Jean’s video provides a timely reminder for many Americans that marriage equality – and the swirl of rhetoric and politics surrounding it – is an issue that deeply impacts families all across the nation:

“I was sickened when the state Supreme Court judges were dismissed by the voters, removed because of peoples’ prejudices. Discrimination affects all of us – not just me, as a mother of a gay son.”

Watch Jean’s message here. To learn more about the current state of marriage equality in states across the country, visit And join HRC in calling on President Obama to publically and vocally support marriage equality for all Americans.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story