By Bryan English

Yesterday, the Iowa House voted to suspend the rules and pass an amendment to the texting ban over the objection of Speaker Pat Murphy.  This vote was significant for a couple of reasons.  First, it highlighted the breakup of the monolithic Democrat power structure in the House as individual members begin to weigh the personal cost of blindly following leadership into a difficult reelection cycle.  The vote also exposed the recent comments form Democrat members who said they “could not break with leadership on a procedural vote” to support marriage as either ignorant or ingenuous.

Former Speaker Pro-Tem of the Iowa House, and IFPC Action Board Chairman, Danny Carroll, commented on yesterdays vote.  He said, “We have been telling the people of Iowa all along that a suspension of the rules to bring the Iowa Marriage Amendment to the floor was possible, and that the Democrats who said otherwise were not being honest with them.” 

In a remarkable example of political ineptitude, House Democrats yesterday took action that directly contradicted the talking points they have been using to deflect criticism from marriage supporters. According to Carroll, “The Democrat party in general, and those 11 Democrats who voted to suspend the rules yesterday but did not vote to suspend when marriage was the issue, have not been honest with the people of Iowa and now have a lot of explaining to do.”

With thousands of Iowans all across the state actively engaged with politicians as a direct result of last year’s unconstitutional Iowa Supreme Court opinion, and with the knowledge that the LUV Iowa marriage rally at the capitol this January was twice as large as the 500 who came a year ago, yesterday’s vote would seem like a perfect opportunity for Republican leaders to claim the high ground and partner with marriage proponents.  Of his friends in the Republican Party, Carroll said, “I am confident that Republican Party leaders will take advantage of the opportunity yesterday’s vote represents.”

Carroll was quick to praise Republican members of the Iowa Legislature for their action this session.  He said, “Republicans in the House and Senate understand how important marriage is to their constituents.  They took action this session to try to move the Iowa Marriage Amendment in both chambers.  It is time for state party leaders to stand by their elected officials, represent rank and file Republican voters, and to reach out to pro-family independents and Democrat voters by turning up the heat on the 11 Democrats who voted yesterday but were unwilling to cast a similar vote in support of marriage.”

Pointing out that the people of Iowa are willing to follow when leaders step up and lead, Carroll went on to say, “Now is the time for the Republican Party of Iowa to step up, seize this opportunity to do the right thing, and take action on an issue that is very important to a large segment of the people they claim to represent. In addition they should take advantage of this Democrat gaff heading into the upcoming election cycle.”  He concluded by saying, “With the dramatic increase in civic involvement by average citizens over the last year, it’s time for the folks in positions of party leadership to heed the advice of that old saying and ‘strike while the iron is hot.’”

Bryan English is the Director of Communications for Iowa Family Policy Center and Iowa Family Policy Center Action

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