fact that Iowa’s defense of marriage act was passed with the help of
Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Tom
Vilsack, Republicans throughout the state are already connecting the
dots between the recent court opinion legalizing same-sex marriage and the
next round of elections in 2010.
“The sad and simple fact is this decision could have been avoided,”
Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said in a
prepared statement this morning. “Once clear that Iowa’s marriage law
was under attack by the courts and outside interest groups, majority
Democrats had every opportunity to advance legislation removing the
politics from protecting marriage and placing the decision directly in
the hands of Iowa voters.”
Strawn added that the Democrats wait-and-see attitude toward the
court ruling is “yet another example of majority Democrats dodging the
tough decisions that responsible legislation requires.”
Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican who has already tossed his hat into
the next gubernatorial contest, pledged on WHO radio this morning that
if he is elected governor he will do “everything in my power to affirm
marriage in Iowa as between one man and one woman.”
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Iowa Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said the the decision is “disappointing on many levels.”
“Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan
should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature
should immediately act to pass a Constitutional Amendment that protects
traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man
and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through
a vote of the people,” he wrote in a prepared statement.
Jason Hamann, co-founder of conservative action group Everyday
America, who petitioned the legislature to act against the original
district court ruling, claimed the Iowa high court “doesn’t understand
the Constitution or its role in interpreting law.” He accused the court
of “creating legislation form the bench.”
And Hamann didn’t limit his criticism to court justices.
“Any executive branch official who in any way participates with
issuing same-sex marriage licenses should be censured and voted out of
office or fired if appropriate,” he said in a statement today.
House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) said that the
perceived standoff beween the legislative and judicial branches of
government should be decided by a Constitutional amendment before the
“In 2007, the Legislature responded immediately when our flag
desecretion law was ruled unconstitutional, we should act swiftly now
and protet the institution of marriage,” Paulsen said. “There is
currently a bi-partisan proposal protecting marriage before the
legislature (HJR 6) and it should be debated immediately.”
While Paulsen stopped short of offering a proposed remedy if the
legislature refuses to debate the proposed House bill, the implied
political threat was already in the Republican echo chamber.
“We are preparing for a battle,” Republican Rep. Kent Sorenson wrote via Twitter, “and will fighting give the people the opportunity to vote.”
Sorenson’s follow-up said, “I firmly believe that the people …
should speak on this issue. I believe marriage is between 1 man and 1
woman and I will fight for this.”
Ted Sporer, former Republican party chairman in Polk County, was
debating the possibilities of overturning the Supreme Court decision
more than 12 hours prior to that decision being announced.
Describing the expectation of some for a Democratically controlled
Iowa legislature to act as “pointless,” Sporer opined that the only
permanent solution is a Constitutional amendment. Due to Iowa law,
however, the earliest such an amendment could be placed on the ballot
would be 2012.