The Show Me Marriage Equality Bus has rolled! After the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Ed Reggi and Scott Emanuel organized a bus trip to Iowa for LGBT from Saint Louis to get married in Iowa City. The trip took place on May 1st 2009 and it enabled 17 couples to get married. The couples were from all walks of life, yet they were united in their desire to have their relationships recognized in a legal way. The bus left Saint Louis at 5:00am, drove to Iowa City for the ceremonies, and then returned home late that same evening. It was a marathon trip. But it was well worth it. The couples were all joy-filled and excited about their new, legal marriages.
The good news doesn’t stop there. Many Iowa City businesses provided them with free or reduced-price services and food. Due to the graciousness of these organizations, this trip included an affordable assortment of food, cakes, decorations, etc. It’s evident that many people in Iowa were willing and excited to be able to support marriage equality in this very real and practical way. This trip, and the many people it takes to make it happen, are a true sign of hope and change in our world. Justice is flowing like a mighty stream from the Midwest!
The Show Me Marriage Equality Bus attracted a lot of media attention. It was featured in newspapers, magazines, and TV news in Iowa, Missouri, and around the nation. Plus, a documentary about the first trip, Heartland Transport, was recently made and released about the trip. Cody Stokes, the director of the documentary, said this about the film: "This film was something that came very unexpectedly to me. I consider myself mainly a narrative filmmaker, and, although I've always had a great interest in documentary film, I was quite intimidated by it. So, when I learned of the planned trip from St. Louis to Iowa City only two days before the buses left, I wasn't sure if it was something I could really pull off. I knew that, for history's sake alone, this was a film that needed to be made, and as soon as I spoke with Ed Reggi I knew it was something that I personally wanted to be involved in. After going on the trip and seeing people partaking in a civil right so many of them thought they'd never see, I was no longer worried about how I was going to make the film - the story fashioned itself. It has been such a great feeling to be let into these people's lives in such an intimate way. I'm very proud of the film. We now have to work to get the film out there and seen, something I look forward to doing."
After making five trips to Iowa City, the Show Me Marriage Equality bus is going to make its first stop at Faith United Church of Christ. They will be using our congregation for their wedding ceremonies on Friday, August 13th. All friends and members of the Faith community are welcome to come to the church to offer welcome, hospitality, and help. This will be an exciting event in the life of the church, an important event in the lives of the couples, and an important witness for greater equality in the Midwest. More details about this event will emerge in the coming weeks.