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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Marriage equality advocates celebrate 1st anniversary, plan for 5th

By Lynda Waddington | 03.31.10 | 7:57 am

IOWA CITY, Iowa — On Saturday, marriage equality will have been a part of the Iowa landscape for one year. Yet even while advocates continue to praise the decision handed down by the Iowa Supreme Court and celebrate the same-sex marriages that have taken place, they also understand that their battles against discrimination continue.

Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa, discussed at a press conference in Iowa City the pride residents still feel one year after marriage equality became a reality for the Hawkeye State (photo by Lynda Waddington/The Iowa Independent).

“When you look at Massachusetts, it was at least five years before [couples] there felt secure,” said Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa, following a press conference Tuesday. “We are continuing to work, and we have set a goal of celebrating our five-year anniversary in 2014. At that point we’ll feel more like we can relax a little bit.”

Although the court’s decision would have been met with some opposition no matter when it was issued, the ruling came at a time when the nation was divided on health care reform and when the state was torn between needs following the worst natural disasters in its history and overall economic decline. As a result there has been no shortage of general frustration during the past 12 months, and also no shortage of opponents to the court decision willing to capitalize on those feelings.

“There is a gentleman who is a pastor at one of the Baptist churches who said that same-sex marriage in Iowa was worse than the flooding of 2008,” said the Rev. Tom Capo of Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist in Cedar Rapids. “And, actually, when I was at the recorder’s office on the day that marriage licenses were first issued to gay and lesbian couples, there was a group of people that I believe were from his same church that wanted to try and stop what was happening.”

The scene in Cedar Rapids described by Capo was similar to what happened at other recorder’s offices throughout the state, when opponents of the decision brought petitions to county officials and demanded that licenses not be issued to same-sex couples. County recorders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties, however, upheld the law and issued licenses.

“[Those gathered at the courthouse] asked me questions,” said Capo, who believes he was the only clergy member in attendance that day. “They asked me what Bible I believed in, but I didn’t bother to answer them. They were pushing people around — and it was just unpleasant. The couples were there for a jubilant experience and these people just wanted to ruin it.”

The Rev. Abraham Funchess, who serves as senior pastor at Jubilee United Methodist Church in Waterloo, agreed that there has been, and will continue to be, religious differences of opinion on same-sex marriage.

“I think one of the reasons we have such turmoil about this issue of marriage equality is due to the indoctrination of religious principles being taught for so long that homosexuality is wrong,” he said. “I think that Biblical interpretation must be reevaluated, of course, as it relates to those churches. But, even so, we must recognize that this is different from religious interpretation, and different from religious tradition.”

Both Capo and Funchess have been working to educate people throughout Iowa and nationally that the decision relates only to civil law, and does not attempt to sway any specific religious belief.

“It is okay that some believe differently,” said Capo. “I don’t have any problem with that. But, when some try to impose their beliefs on somebody else, to try to control laws because of their faith position, it just doesn’t seem right to me.”

Funchess, who quoted from a statement released by Mildred (Jeter) Loving on the 40th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized her mixed-race marriage during his public remarks, said afterward that he believes “hasty ostracism” of a segment of the population to be “unloving.”

“I think it flies in the face of what the church really is supposed to be about, in terms of acting on behalf of justice and fighting against oppression where ever it may be,” he said.

“I still hear the great teacher of hospitality saying to us that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves — and that means that we we respect the dignity and rights of our neighbors.”

Johnson County Recorder Kim Painter, who was able to marry her spouse, Jessica, in September as a result of the decision, said she believed the situation to be “win-win” because of how well it was handled by the court.

“The whole state saw that government continued to function smoothly under the court’s ruling [when all 99 county recorders issued licenses to same-sex couples]. They also saw that the ruling upheld the right of a church to be a church and to spell out its beliefs and urge its membership to follow those teachings,” she said. “In that way, Varnum [v. Brien] was a pure win-win for religious conservatives, for religious progressives, for humanists and atheists. This ruling was a complete affirmation of the wisdom of constitutional government, civil laws, the separation of powers and the separation of church and state.”

Just six years ago, in February 2004, more than 50 gay and lesbian couples converged on Painter’s office in Johnson County to request marriage licenses. While Painter obviously sympathized with the couples, she turned each away, citing that Iowa law at the time did not allow for same-sex marriage. On the day that marriage licenses were legally issued last year, many of the same couples returned, finally victorious, to the same counter where they had been previously turned away.

According to Janelle Rettig, Johnson County Supervisor, those days were just two in a string of actions that paved the way for a press conference on the one year anniversary of marriage equality to be held in Iowa City, the city that was the first in the nation to include sexual orientation in its human rights code in 1977. One year earlier, and only steps away from the site of Tuesday’s press conference, Rettig and others awaited the Varnum decision from the Iowa Supreme Court — and then celebrated.

By the end of 2009 — eight months after marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples — a total of 1,783 marriages had taken place, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The Williams Institute estimated a $5.3 million annual boost in state government revenues due to same-sex marriage and $160 million in new spending on weddings and tourism in the first three years of marriage equality in Iowa.

“We will not take these freedoms for granted,” said Jenison, who also praised “fair-minded” elected officials who stood for equality. “We will fight back every attempt to undermine the rights of Iowans, and we will stand together — stronger, better and a more united Iowa where everyone has a seat at the table.”

Listen as Johnson County Recorder Kim Painter discusses one year of same-sex marriage in Iowa:

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  • shadow_man

    Violence against a minority group…

    Gays are being beaten, shot at, sent to the hospital, killed. In the Middle East,

    they are killing gays among other groups out of hatred. Is this what we want

    America to become? Do we want America to revert back to the 1960's when

    groups were killed and segregated against for simply no good reason? Do

    we want to follow the ways of the Middle East and Al Queda? Let's push

    forward, it's time to end bigotry, discrimination, hate, and ignorance. This is

    modern America, not the Dark Ages.

  • shadow_man

    To those of you using the Bible as a weapon against homosexuality, you are wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.………

    Thats why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrites. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will.

    This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God's will.

  • shadow_man

    For those of you claiming homosexuality is a “lifestyle”, that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.……
    Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ,2933,155990,00.html………

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. “Nurture” may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

    And it should also be noted that:
    “It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organizations do believe it is impossible to change a person's sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association.”

  • shadow_man

    The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

    From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Asociation and American Psychiatric Asociation have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

    America's premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

  • shadow_man

    The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

    “There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.”…

    Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.…

    The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality.… df

    The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.… rientation.aspx

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