Iowa City, Iowa -- News of the recent Iowan Superior Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages may have come as a surprise to many in the nation, but not to native Iowans. In fact, few outside Iowa know of its liberal reputation and only that of its agricultural one. For example, did you know that Iowa was among the first states in the union to legalize mixed raced marriages between White settlers and Native Americans?
"Unfortunately that law was quickly repealed after the Sac Indian tribe uprising in the state senate," said Iowan historian, Gray Parker. "My great, great grandfather lost more than his life that day, his lost his scalp too."
Parker explained that his great, great grandfather, State Senator Samuel Parker (one of the state's leading liberal of the day), was in the middle of shaking hands with Chief Black Hawk on the senate floor celebrating the passage of the law that he sponsored that lifted the ban on mixed marriages, when a photographer from the Iowa Tribune sneaked up from behind and took their picture.
"Of course that enraged Chief Black Hawk, who believed like many Native Americans to this day do, that the camera stole his soul," recounted Parker. "So he did what any rational human being would do and took my great, great grandfather soul from his body and transferred to his own, using a blunt rusty Sac tribe ceremonial blade."
Ironically, Chief Black Hawk was the first to benefit from the Parker Bill banning mixed marriages, as he quickly remarried, taking on another woman (his forth wife), but his first paleface bride, the widow Parker for his own.
"I'm sure my great, great grandfather was pleased to know that his best friend Chief Black Hawk was the first Native American to benefit from the new law he helped pass," said Parker "And that his wife Jezebel Parker was well provided for in Chief Black Hawk's teepee on his reservation."
Unfortunately, the rest of the surviving members of the Iowa State Senate did not see it that way from their beds. While nursing their knife wounds, the state senators were so outraged by the news of the marriage of Chief Black Hawk to the window Parker that called on a special emergency secession of the senate, repealing the "Samuel Parker Marriage Equality Act" on the spot.
"From that day forward," said Parker. "My great, great grandfather, still in the body of Chief Black Hawk, roamed the lands of Iowa searching for a place where people would tolerate a marriage between a Native American Chief his three medicine women and his paleface bride."
Fortunately, Chief Black Hawk (and the ghost of Samuel Parker) did not have to wonder too far or wait that long as he quickly found acceptance among the Mormon tribe of Utah.
"He sent postcards to his tribe back home on the reservation in Iowa, asking them to come join him in what he called: 'Heaven on earth", said Parker. "Unfortunately, they were unable to join him as they were now all incarcerated."
The Sac Tribe, however, was allowed to write back to their Chief. Surprisingly, they wrote to him how well members of the Iowa militia who guarded them day and night treated them.
"Yesterday they gave us blankets for the winter," wrote back a tribal elder. "But I guess I must be allergic to wool because I broke out with red spots today. I guess Running Bear, Hooting Owl and Sleeps with Horses as many of the other members of our tribe are too. As they all have red spots all over their bodies as well. Wake up Running Bear. Wake up! His flesh feels cold like the river. I better put another blanket on him."
Parker hopes the justices of the Iowan Superior Court have better luck than his great, great grandfather, Samuel Parker, in their ruling in favor of same-sex marriages, but he heralds a cautionary word to them.
"Beware of same-sex couples baring rusty blunt ceremonial knives," warns Parker. "And for God sakes, don't let anyone take your picture with them."