Iowa county clerks began processing same-sex couples' marriage applicaations on Monday, following the April 3rd ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. Iowa is the third state to legalize gay marriage along with Massachusetts and Vermont. Bouquets were expected to be handed to the newlyweds by volunteers in the state's larger cities.
Maryfrances Evans, 46, and Stephanie McFarland, 39, plan to hold their ceremony Friday, performed by the same judge who finalized the adoptions of their two daughters, now 5 and 3.
"It's all about me having the legal right to protect my family, and it's about my daughters being able to grow up knowing that their family is absolutely as valid as any other family," said Evans, who lives in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale.
Obama Reflects on Holocaust
At a memorial for the Holocaust, in which millions of Jews were transported to concentration camps and murdered by Nazi Germany, President Obama emphasized that silence is unacceptable in dealing with evil and bigotry.
"Today, and every day, we have an opportunity, as well as an obligation, to confront these scourges -- to fight the impulse to turn the channel when we see images that disturb us, or wrap ourselves in the false comfort that others' sufferings are not our own," Obama said. "Instead, we have the opportunity to make a habit of empathy; to recognize ourselves in each other; to commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference in whatever forms they may take."
Ending on a hopeful note, Obama referenced more recent violent conflicts such as those in Ireland and Rwanda, both of which have since subsided.
"Our fellow citizens of the world, showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance, and ultimately to reconciliation," Obama said. "That is what we mean when we say, 'Never again.'"
Soujouner Truth Memorial Bust Unveiled
Today Soujourner Truth, respected abolitionist and women's right activist, became the first black woman honored with a memorial bust in the U.S. Capitol.
"One could only imagine what Sojourner Truth, an outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is kind of woman ... what she would have to say about this incredible gathering," first lady Michelle Obama said at the Celebration of Truth ceremony. "We are all here because, as my husband says time and time again, we stand on the shoulders of giants like Sojourner Truth."
"And as just Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott would be pleased to know that we have a woman serving as the speaker of the House of Representatives, I hope that Sojourner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendant of slaves, serving as the first lady of the United States of America," she said.
Those in attendance at the ceremony included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Leader John Boehner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as actress Cicely Tyson, who recited Truth's famous "Ain't I A Woman" speech.
New Jersey Voters Support Same-Sex Marriage Law
New Jersey voters support a law legalizing same-sex marriage by a 49-43 margin, according to a Quinnipac University poll.
And voters support 63 - 30 percent the existing law establishing civil unions for same-sex couples.
A proposed same-sex marriage law wins 64 - 29 percent support from Democrats and 50 - 41 percent from independent voters, but Republicans oppose it 67 - 26 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Men oppose it 48 - 44 percent while women back same-sex marriage 53 - 39 percent.
Read the rest of the poll results here.