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LGBTQ Activists Reflect on Anniversary of Legalization of Same Sex Marriage

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The wedding planning has begun for Courtney Reyes and her fiance Kate.

"We're so excited and overwhelmed and trying to figure out what is the perfect day that looks like us," Reyes says with a smile.

The newly-engaged couple's excitement for the big day is met with the gratitude for the trailblazers who paved the way nearly a decade ago.

"That really sets it up for people like myself to be able to get married and not have to think about anything else," she says.

Tuesday marks the nine-year anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court's legalization of same sex marriage. For the state's largest LGBTQ advocacy group, this day is a cause for reflection. It forces advocates to remember the time when they thought their work was done.

"So many of us within the community, outside of the community, and our allies were complacent in thinking, 'oh, well we got marriage and things are great, we can move on. We are done,'" says One Iowa executive director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel.

However, continued attacks on the gay community have forced advocates to continue their fight to the get the culture caught up with the policy.

"Even today in 2018, more than half of the LGBTQ community isn't out at work, and that is just mind-boggling that even with marriage, with the advancement that we've had, the policy side, people still aren't comfortable being out at work," he says.

That same uncomfortable feeling can still be felt as Reyes searches for a wedding venue accepting of her sexual orientation. It's criticism she knows she and her wife will face, but hopes it will lessen over time.

"You are enough, you are so incredibly enough, and I want everyone to be able to feel that and have that message from the outside world."

One Iowa says more work still needs to be done surrounding LGBTQ equality. The organization is working to ban conversion therapy and add gender identity to the list of hate crimes, which would allow transgender Iowans to be better protected.