It is amazing to me how news outlets have reported on Republican Party of Iowa Chair A.J. Spiker’s comments on Iowa Press as though they are controversial or actual news. In case you missed the program you watch right here. The controversy stems from Spiker saying that the Iowa Democratic Party is the gay marriage party. Here’s the full quote and lead-in question from O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa for context:
Henderson: Mr. Spiker, there is a group of republicans who are meeting with the goal of eventually getting the GOP to accept same-sex marriage or at least not make it a central point of any campaign. What are your thoughts on that effort?
Spiker: Well, the party wants to be welcoming and we’re a big tent and we want to have people of a lot of different views that are part of the party. But what they also need to understand is that there is a gay marriage party in the state of Iowa and that is the Iowa Democratic Party. The Republican Party embraces one man, one woman marriage and embraces the right of the people to vote on the definition of marriage.
A couple points. 1. Opposition to same-sex marriage been a long-standing part of the Republican Party of Iowa platform. The first plank in the marriage platform reads, “We support federal and state constitutional amendments, voted on by the citizens, which define marriage as only between one natural man and one natural woman.” (I find it sad that the qualifier “natural” needs to be used.) All that Spiker was doing was reiterating that point. It was also Governor Terry Branstad’s stated position when he was campaigning during 2010. It was also former Iowa GOP Chair, Matt Strawn’s, position as well. Nothing new. 2. The Iowa Democratic Party platform affirms same-sex marriage so they are the gay marriage party in Iowa. I’d link to their platform, but at the time of writing their website was inaccessible.
So where’s the news here? This is just documented facts.
New Iowa Democratic Party Chair, State Representative Tyler Olson (D-Cedar Rapids) responded in a statement.
After the IPTV taping, Tyler Olson, 36, a state representative for Cedar Rapids who recently was named Iowa Democratic Party state chairman, said Iowa Republicans are engaged in “infighting about whether they’re going to be a party that stands for equal protection under the law” while his party is focused on mainstream issues like jobs, the economy and strengthening the middle class that are important to Iowans’ daily lives.
“This is just another example of the Republican Party fighting battles that Iowans have long since settled,” said Olson.
The Cedar Rapids Democrat said the Iowa Supreme Court “settled” the gay-marriage issue in April 2009 when seven justices unanimously ruled that a state law defining marriage as only between one man and one woman was unconstitutional – paving the way for two people of the same gender to enter into legal civil marriages with the same protections as opposite-sex couples. He said Democrats’ inclusive view was validated by voters who re-elected Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
“We have totally different principles. We have a totally different outlook on the world,” Olson said. “Democrats I think understand the reality of the world we live in and are focused on issues that are important to everyday Iowans. The Republican Party continues to fight these tired political battles that Iowans have settled. It’s settled. We need to move forward and the leader of the Republican Party is not ready to do that.”
A couple things about State Representative Olson’s comments. 1. There is no battle being fought on this within the GOP. This is a small minority that has been given undue media attention. 2. His party has not needed to focus on the issue since same-sex marriage licenses have been issued since 2009. Why bring it up when status quo favors your position? You don’t. Also the only groups making this an issue are the media and Ken Mehlman and company. The only reason the issue was brought up was because of Henderson’s question. Now as far as their focus on mainstream issues like jobs, the economy, etc. I’d like to see them focus less on it because their positions are antithetical to what would actually help. But I digress.
It hasn’t been an issue this year simply because a marriage amendment won’t go anywhere in the Iowa Senate. The Iowa House has already passed such an amendment. Senator Majority Leader Michael Gronstal(ling) (D-Council Bluffs) wouldn’t let any bill see the light of day.
The third and last point I’d like to bring it is an objection to him saying that this is a battle “Iowans have long settled.” How’s that? I don’t remember their being a vote or even a bill passed by our legislature. He said the Iowa Supreme Court “settled” it. In an audio clip of his statement that I heard on WHO Radio this morning he actually called it “settled law.” Which it is not. It is a court opinion. If Olson truly wants to see Iowans “settle” the issue he’d be in favor of Iowans voting on it. I fully admit that I’m not confident that an marriage amendment would pass like I was a few years ago, but at least “we the people” would have had a say, not a group of robed tyrants.
So basically what is the goal of all this? Same-sex marriage licenses are already being given out? Status quo reigns and it isn’t an issue this year. Mainly because achieving “rights” isn’t the goal. Same sex marriage advocates seek legitimacy and for their position to be “normalized” which can only be gained by quelling any opposition.
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