The fundamental problem I have with IFPC’s recent actions and Vander Plaats’ executive order is that the issue of traditional marriage is now directly coupled with the success or failure of one candidate, – Bob Vander Plaats. By IFPC going all-in on Vander Plaats, traditional marriage advocates may be defeated long before this November. If Vander Plaats is defeated in the June primary, you can count on Governor Culver, Mike Gronstal, Pat Murphy, One Iowa, and the Iowa Democratic Party to declare the issue of marriage to be settled.
Gay marriage advocates will all say that Vander Plaats’ campaign is a referendum on marriage, and if it couldn’t pass in a Republican primary, there is no way that it would pass in a general election. The same holds true for the general election if Vander Plaats win the Republican primary but loses in the general election. The best case scenario for IFPC is if Vander Plaats is elected governor and sees his executive order upheld, but as discussed above, the legislature will still have to approve the amendment twice…
…IFPC’s rally for marriage and press conference would have been much more powerful had the group’s leaders been joined on the stage by three or four gubernatorial candidates, 44 or more members of the Iowa House, and at least 18 state senators. Sadly, the event stage was limited to only those who support Bob Vander Plaats’ campaign for governor.
If the ultimate goal is to let the people of Iowa vote on a constitutional amendment that defines traditional marriage, then organizations like IFPC and supporters of traditional marriage should be trying to elect enough legislators so that the marriage amendment can be passed. While a Governor can be helpful in passing a constitutional amendment on marriage, they have no role in the process of getting the amendment passed.
IFPC has now tied the future of the marriage issue the political success of Bob Vander Plaats. If he fails as a candidate, the issue of traditional marriage will also suffer a serious defeat. One would have thought that after losing a decade long struggle to protect traditional marriage in Iowa, marriage supporters and groups like IFPC would have focused their efforts on the issue of marriage itself and not place an all-in bet on one political candidate.
A great point as to why the issue needs to transcend one particular candidate. Victories in legislative elections will ultimately be the key to success in the amendment process. Until a marriage amendment moves in the General Assembly it isn’t going anywhere.
I for one do not want to see this issue tied to one candidate; it is too important to see this issue move forward even if our candidate(s) of choice fail in their election.