Yesterday I attended a rally at the Iowa Statehouse (it made the front page of the Washington Times as well) that was coordinated by the Iowa Family Policy Center. Approximately 600 people attended for those who were in support of the amendment, and there was a group from OneIowa who were against a vote.
Chuck Hurley, the president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, Rev. Keith Ratliff, pastor of Maple Street Baptist Church, and Danny Carroll, chairman of the Iowa Family Policy Center Action Committee spoke. Here is a slideshow/video of the event.
Chuck Hurley encouraged us to remember in November (of 2010) this decision, as three of the Supreme Court justices are up for retention vote. He said remember in November, Governor Chet Culver’s backtracking on this issue, as he is up for re-election. He forgot his pledge, even though he said he’s keeping it.
In January 2008, Culver told reporters he would "do whatever it takes" to seek a quick response in the Legislature if the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to legalize gay marriage.
So doing whatever it takes is agreeing with the the Iowa Supreme Court decision? Hmmmm…. ok, we’ll remember in November. Governor Culver is on shaky ground with this, as well as, other issues that could land him the distinction of being the first one-term governor that Iowa has had in many years. Congratulations!
He did say he would address residency requirements and would be “open” to a Constitutional Convention to address this issue. Talking with some friends up at the Statehouse, a convention could be very risky since the Legislature appoints the delegates. The whole thing could end up being a big crap sandwich. It also looks like the Legislature will have to also look at the language of the current incest laws – see what a mess this is making?
Then we’ll remember in November, the House members who prevented the first step toward a public vote. In the morning, while I was there, Speaker Pat Murphy, ruled the Republican attempt to bring House Joint Resolution 6 out of committee as out-of-order, and then announced a break for Democrats and Republicans to go to caucus. The crowd in the gallery started to chant, “Let us vote.” To which Speaker Murphy compared that to “mob rule.” How classy of him, apparently he has compared those who oppose gay marriage to the Ku Klux Klan as well.
In the afternoon’s second attempt there was a vote pushed by Representative Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) on a motion to suspend the rules in order to allow debate. It failed when all of the Democratic caucus, minus two, voted no. I would like to commend Representative Dolores Mertz (D-Ottosen) and Representative Geri Huser (D-Altoona) who voted yes. Don’t let those who voted no on this measure fool you. This wasn’t just a procedural vote – it was a vote to not allow the citizens of Iowa a chance to decide this issue.
Even if the legislators are in favor of the ruling, they should be in favor of a democratic solution to this issue. There’s no guarantee the Iowa Marriage Amendment would pass by popular vote, but at least we’d get to vote.
This debate can and should be looked at this way – either you are in favor of democracy or you are in favor of a judicial oligarchy. That’s what is at stake here.