Out on the Town: Sean McQuillan’s Iowa
Lots of bridegrooms are nervous when they pop the question, but Sean Fritz faced a fearsome deadline most lack. A county judge in his native Iowa had ruled for marriage equality that day — Aug. 30, 2007 — and Sean knew a higher court was likely to stay the ruling within hours. He proposed to his love, Tim McQuillan, that night, then, by 10 the next morning, lined up a license, a preacher and a court waiver of Iowa’s standard three-day waiting period. Exchanging vows just hours before the stay came down, Tim and Sean McQuillan became the only legal same-sex spouses in the state. Their relationship — and presence of mind — was vindicated April 3, 2009 when Iowa’s Supreme Court upheld marriage equality.
A recent graduate in computer science from Iowa State University, Sean is a reluctant Pride hero but agreed to talk about Iowa and how to enjoy it. Capital City PrideFest, in Des Moines is June 12-14.
Where and how did you meet?
Tim and I met on Facebook. We decided after talking online for a bit to go out for coffee and started dating in July 2006.
Where do you and Tim eat/drink/hang out in Iowa?
Ames has a restaurant called the “Cafe.” It serves organic local food from a diverse cultural background. It’s pretty awesome and we eat there more than we should.
In Des Moines, our favorite restaurant is Legends downtown; it’s more mass-produced but they make great steaks. In Iowa City, you have to eat at the gyro stand downtown. And in the Quad Cities, where Sean is from, we love Front Street Brewery — their lager is the best in the state.
Are gay bars and clubs an important part of gay life in Iowa, or do young gays hang out in other kinds of places there?
I know of a few people who frequent gay bars, but to be honest most of the gay people I know in Iowa don’t really go to them very often. On the other hand, Iowa is very accepting and being openly gay in public hasn’t ever been an issue — so there’s less incentive to hang out at bars.
What don’t out-of-towners know about Iowa that they should know?
We grow a lot of grass-fed beef, but you have to go to co-ops to find any of it.
How will you and Tim celebrate Pride this year?
We will be attending Pride as guests; we try to avoid having a profile at events like that.
Planning to attend Des Moines pride or get hitched in the city? Check out our guide…