imageBy Dale Mastarone

Senator Gronstal, I watched and listened to you in your appearance on Iowa Press on Iowa Public Television on Friday November 12, 2010, and you iterated and reiterated the following statement, “I’m not going to put discrimination into the Constitution of the State of Iowa.” Your statement was in regard to question about a proposed constitutional amendment that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.

Hmm? Let me see if I have this correct? It appears that you must believe that there is no discrimination in the Iowa Constitution as it is now written, and you are loathe to allow any discrimination to begin on your watch. As if there is no discrimination at present?

I’m sorry, Senator Gronstal, I know for a fact that you have to be wrong about there being no discrimination in the Iowa Constitution if that’s what you suggest. There certainly and absolutely is discrimination evident throughout the Iowa Constitution. For one simple example, the Iowa Constitution discriminates against me personally. I cannot be an Iowa legislator unless I meet certain qualifications, such as first being a citizen of Iowa and then other criteria, and finally being elected by the people in my district, etc. Am I permitted by the Iowa Constitution from introducing legislation or casting a vote in the General Assembly unless I meet the foregoing constitutional muster? Therefore?

According to what I hear from the media, the people in the Iowa Senate District you represent are overwhelmingly in favor of their having opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to set forth that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman — vote one way or another. Sir, there can be no question about it — you are personally discriminating against the majority wishes of your constituents in your senate district. What is even more obvious is that in your position of control as Senate Majority Leader you are discriminating against the wishes of the majority of people in Iowa living in the other 49 Senate Districts that say they want to be able to have opportunity to vote on the measure. You, sir, the way you present yourself as a one man show, are blocking the conscience of Iowa from free expression. Am I missing something?

Senator Gronstal, I suppose you might be feeling safe in your senate seat for the next two years, but perhaps a mite concerned for the next election after witnessing the popular ousting of three Iowa Supreme Court justices because of the same subject matter you stand for. Be that as it may, in my humble opinion you should not be feeling very safe about regaining senate majority leader position in the upcoming 2011 legislative session; after all, there might be a courageous Democrat Senator who will emerge as one that will promise that she or he will not stand in the way of an up or down vote in the Iowa Senate re the proposed constitutional amendment. For whatever good you may have garnered in the General Assembly to date in your successive elections as nearly a permanent political fixture — I believe you may have blown all that on your particular stance re the subject matter above.

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