Today marks the 4th anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act. State Senator Matt McCoy is celebrating calling it an “exciting day.” Bill Petroski of The Des Moines Register reports:
Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, who is openly gay, said in remarks on the Iowa Senate floor that Iowans “pray that the U.S. Supreme Court will share the wisdom of the Iowa Supreme Court” and provide the opportunity for all Americans to marry. He was referring to two pending cases on same-sex marriage pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
McCoy criticized what he described as a “rogue group of individuals” who have raised objections to eighth annual Iowa governor’s conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Conference organizers say the event isn’t about “pushing homosexuality,” as some conservative Iowa ministers claimed at a news conference last week, but to fight bullying and violence in schools, to educate the school community, and to give students a chance to support one another.
McCoy said he commends Gov. Terry Branstad for “his leadership and courage” to attach his name to the event. He denounced “those who would criticize this effort to create a safe environment for kids to go to school.”
First off, Senator McCoy is not against discrimination since he leading the charge to discriminate against a fully qualified candidate for the Board of Regents mainly because he doesn’t support McCoy’s agenda. Secondly, exactly who is he praying to? The Bible is pretty clear on the subject. Marriage is between one man and one woman. So if the Supreme Court rules the way he would like it would be contrary to God’s word, not according to it. Third, Governor Branstad’s office denies the conference is named after him.
Tamara Scott, the State Director of Concerned Women for America, in an email quoted the response they received from Governor Terry Branstad’s office when they wanted to get him to remove the title of Governor from the “Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth” which is meeting today. A spokesperson from the Governor’s office Scott said told her, “This conference is put on by a private organization (Iowa Safe Schools) not a government one. The private organization calls it the Governor’s because it was started under Governor Vilsack; therefore, our office cannot change the name of the conference. If you have more concerns, contact the organization directly.”
Somebody’s not telling the truth, however…
We then contacted Iowa Safe Schools directly and asked if the Governor allowed them to use his name. Nate Monson, Director of Iowa Safe schools replied, “Yes he is! Just like last year. Thanks for the question!”
As Iowans we look to Gov. Terry Branstad as a leader, a protector and guardian of all of our children. CWA of Iowa has encouraged the Governor to either pull his office title from the conference or eliminate the offensive content, and at the very least include protection for the largest group of students likely to be persecuted and mistreated, Christian students and teachers. Surely Iowans can expect better from a conference bearing a title implying the Governor’s approval.
Scott was present at the press conference held last week that exposed taxpayer money going to this conference (through DMACC sponsorship and school districts covering the cost of attendance). The primary beef with the conference was the political activism and content that was deemed offensive.
A recap from an earlier post… The specific workshops in question are described on the conference website:
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Right Wing?
Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa
Learn messages and methods to fight back against propaganda from the extreme right wing, from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to Bob Vander Plaats and Jan Mickelson. Discover resources to get the most up-to-date information available and work toward a more progressive Iowa.
For the Bible Tells Me So
Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families—including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson—we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity, and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity. Participants will watch the full documentary and following discuss their viewpoint, emotions, and other thoughts.
Exploring the Intersections Between Bisexual and Transgender Identities and Organizing
Bisexual Organizing Project
This workshop will invite participants to actively engage with the edges of intersections between transgender and bisexual identities and organizing. The presenters will offer some working definitions of the terminology used but this is not a 101 workshop and participants are expected to have some knowledge/experience of transgender and bisexual identities and communities. The objective of this workshop is to offer a safe place in which to address the topics described earlier and to create an opportunity to build our capacity for more inclusive transgender and bisexual communities.
Let’s do a role reversal here, shall we? What kind of response would we get from the homosexual community if the Governor attached his name and taxpayer money went towards a conservative-slanted conference on homosexual youth or something akin to the Love Wins Out conference? I would suspect we’d have some protesting – understandably. So for McCoy to call this a rogue group is first of all laughable as many who spoke represent mainstream Iowans (not that I agree with everything that was said or how it was said), and secondly he would be leading the protest if the roles were reversed.
No public money, no governor’s title should go toward an event with topics such as these. Period. If they want to do it as a private entity, not during the school day that would require school involvement, and use private money. More power to them. They have freedom of speech and assembly there is nothing stopping them.
McCoy then offered a veiled complaint about how homosexuals are treated in the Branstad Administration.
McCoy added, “Without pointing to an individual I can say that there is doubt today in the way that this administration has worked with employees who are openly gay.” He said all state employees should work in an environment free of discrimination. “It is time for the state of Iowa and the governor to recognized that prevention and anti-bullying should apply to state employees equally,” McCoy said.
Proof? He says that on the record in a floor speech in the Iowa Senate, but says nothing to back that claim up? Radio Iowa noted that no Republican senator objected to his speech. They evidently have better things to do (perhaps I should follow their lead).
Final thought on the LGBTQ youth conference – pink locker rooms are to be discussed specifically former University of Iowa football coach Hayden Fry’s decision to paint the opposing team’s locker room pink in the 1980s. It carries on as a tradition today. Oh brother. This has nothing to do with homosexuality. Pink is a calming color. Fry was into sports psychology and he did it in order to try to make the opposing team less aggressive.
Fry wrote in his book, “A High Porch Picnic”: “When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I’ve got him. I can’t recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us.”
Did it work? Well look at Iowa’s home record at home (which over the years has been pretty good) and you be the judge. I’d say however I don’t think it helped much last season.