Dear Speaker-Elect Paulsen,

An AP article published by The Des Moines Register on Saturday quoted you saying, “The overwhelming issues that I think will consume the bulk of the 2011 session are going to be spending, taxes and getting Iowans back to work.  I think that was the overriding issue on people’s minds when they went to the polls.”

I agree that the economy was the leading issue.  As a fiscal conservative I was (and am) concerned about overspending and was as disgusted you probably are about outgoing Governor, Chet Culver’s, payback to union supporters via a wage increase.  I am also appalled by the wasteful spending that is inherent in the I-JOBS program, and am concerned about the property tax increases that were seen due to his fiscal mismanagement.  I applaud your desire to cut the budget by $300 million.  I also want to see our business climate improve through business income tax cuts, as well as, seeing business property taxes reduced so Iowa has a better environment for private job creation.  I also want to see personal income tax cuts addressed because I believe we should keep more of what we make.

I also can multitask, and expect you and other Republican legislative leaders to do the same.  To say that marriage is not an overwhelming issue is to ignore reality.  Voters took the time to flip the ballot over and take the unprecedented step of ousting three Iowa Supreme Court justices.  Shortly after the election you indicated that you wanted the Iowa House to endorse a statewide vote when you said, “I expect us to handle that resolution sooner rather than later. What exactly that means is something we’ll have to talk about.”

Talk is cheap however.  We want to see action.  All we have seen was talk since 2009, and now you are in a position to do something about it.  A marriage amendment is a lengthy process so it should start now.  The only scenario where I would be satisfied with a vote on a marriage amendment being delayed until 2012 is if the Iowa House re-passes the Defense of Marriage Act with language that removes jurisdiction from Iowa’s courts.

Judicial reform needs to be addressed as well, or do  you think Courts are only going to meddle with social issues?  There are a whole host of social issues that should be addressed as well from late term abortion to school choice to religious liberty.  Again we understand the need to prioritize, but those of us who are social conservatives as well as fiscal conservatives (which is your base and the majority in the GOP) will not tolerate a lack of action on some of our priorities.

Your rhetoric is of concern.  You also were quoted saying, “I think if you look, we campaigned on getting Iowans back to work, we campaigned on smaller, more efficient government, addressing the budget, eliminating the debt.  Those are the things that every single House Republican campaigned on.”

And many in your caucus campaigned on social issues as well.  Simply put Mr. Speaker, ignore social conservatives if you want, but don’t think we will ignore you.  You can’t keep majority status without us, and we’re tired of talk.  Now is time to act.

5 comments
  1. Shane–

    What is the point of enacting a marriage amendment? What is the point of a so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” where you take away people’s freedom in choosing a marriage partner? Do you really think you’ll be able to introduce something that has been declared unconstitutional and tell the courts they can’t touch it?

    And, as I have asked you before, what happens to currently-married same-sex couples and their familes if you get your way?

    1. The point would be righting a wrong that was done by the Supreme Court. The Legislature would have to deal with existing “marriages”. The Supreme Court should have stayed their opinion before the Legislature dealt with it, so blame them for that mess.

      1. Shane–

        Is that normal procedure for the Supreme Court to stay a ruling on a constitutional issue and wait for the legislature to act while an unconstitutional law remains in effect? What is the legislature supposed to do?

        There is already a marriage law on the books. If language limiting the institution to one man and one woman is stricken, what’s to keep a same-sex couple from marrying?

      2. They “struck down” DOMA, not the marriage laws that preceded DOMA. The law that remained after DOMA was stricken is one man, one woman.

        So what’s your point?

        If Courts can make law and then order county government around what is the point of having a Legislature or an executive branch? Tell you what let’s change our constitution so we can have an oligarchy since that is what you seem to want.

      3. Shane–

        What the court stated was:

        “Iowa Code section 595.2 is unconstitutional because the County has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage. A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution. This record, our independent research, and the appropriate equal protection analysis do not suggest the existence of a justification for such a legislative classification that substantially furthers any governmental objective. Consequently, the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil
        marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.”

        Thus, the existing marriage law remains, minus the sex-specific references which appear from my initial review of the Iowa legislative web site (http://search.legis.state.ia.us) be be limited to 595.2.

        The legislature makes the law, but the courts are there to ensure the laws are consistent with constitutional principles.

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