Previously, only far away states such as California and Massachusetts permitted same-sex marriage.
MPR's Cathy Wurzer spoke to Theresa Zaske of Balaton, who is planning to make the 70 mile trip across the Iowa border with her partner Penni Spaid to marry in March of next year.
Although the state of Minnesota and the federal government will not recognize the legality of her marriage, Zaske said it is still an important milestone.
"The easier it is to ignore that there are those of us who want to be together, and truly want to live the rest of our lives together," Zaske said. "And even though it doesn't matter from a legal stand point, I think it makes it harder to ignore us and I think it makes the commitment to each other deeper."
Same-sex marriage is still banned in most states, but Iowa marks the first time it has been legalized in the Midwest. Some critics say same-sex unions should not be called marriages because they redefine the word 'marriage' and could be stretched to describe any type of relationship.
"I don't know that it's a matter of redefining marriage, so much as it is recognizing things that have always happened, in a legal sort of way," Zaske said. "I love my dog, but my dog can't sign a legal contract and I don't want to be married to my dog for the rest of my life...I think some people's minds will never be changed."
Zaske and Spaid planned to get married this summer in California, but medical bills made that impossible. Iowa, she said, is a much closer option.
"Being able to drive 70 miles is closer for us to go to Iowa to get married than it is for us to go to Minneapolis-St. Paul to go to the Mall of America," Zaske said. "We can do it in a way that is affordable, that is close."
The threat always looms of a state reversing its ruling, and disallowing same-sex marriage, but Zaske said she and Spaid are hoping to marry next March 26.
"The day we met," she said.