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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

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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

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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.

One year later, gay marriage repeal appears to be on backburner

By Jason Hancock | 04.01.10 | 12:01 pm

While the fight to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage was always considered an uphill battle, many observers felt it would ultimately become a political liability for Democrats during the 2010 elections. But time, polling and electoral success appears to have stiffened their resolve, and with the country in the midst of an economic recession, the issue appears to be on the political backburner.

Case in point is Democratic Gov. Chet Culver.

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Prior to the ruling, Culver said he would be willing to call legislators into special session to “do whatever it takes to protect marriage between a man and a woman.” On the day of the court’s decision, Culver released a tepid statement, saying he wanted to review the ruling with the attorney general before “reacting to what it means for Iowa.” It was nearly a week before the governor released a statement saying that while he personally believed marriage was between one man and one woman, he was “reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution” to overturn the court’s ruling.

Flash forward to this week, just a few days before the ruling’s one-year anniversary, and Culver’s position has become more steadfast.

“We stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state constitution have no place in our state constitution,” Culver said, later adding: “The overwhelming majority of Iowans do not want to amend our constitution in such as a way that’s discriminatory. I think that’s the bottom line.”

A year ago, in the waning weeks of the legislative session, Republicans tried numerous procedural maneuvers to force a vote on marriage. This year, the issue came up once, with lawmakers in both chambers making a push just before the funnel-week deadline. After failing to garner enough support to force a vote, attention returned to the state’s budget, a topic that dominated the session.

While the issue remains salient, especially to evangelical voters that make up the base of the Republican Party, gay-marriage advocates say the political tide has turned and Iowans have begun to move on.

“A majority of Iowans just aren’t interested in talking about this issue,” said Brad Clark, campaign director for One Iowa. “People want to talk about the bread and butter issues, and I think people campaigning on marriage will see their message fall flat.”

Clark points to the special election held in House District 90 last September. The race became ground zero for the gay marriage battle, with national groups spending thousands to get their message to voters. The National Organization for Marriage alone raised and spent nearly $100,000 to support the Republican in the rural southeastern district.

Ultimately, though, the Democrat prevailed.

In the aftermath, many Republicans pointed to poor strategy and a district that historically leans Democrat as the reason for their defeat. Clark said it was also a rejection of the brand of politics that favors exclusion over equal rights.

Of course, not everyone shares Clark’s belief. Bryan English, spokesman for the Iowa Family Policy Center, told the Marshalltown Times Republican that groups like his won’t have to go out of their way to make marriage an issue this fall, because “it is an issue.”

English’s group has put the marriage issue center stage in the Republican gubernatorial primary. In January, it vowed to sit out the fall campaign if the GOP nominates former Gov. Terry Branstad, whom the IFPC said “failed to boldly address the values that we embrace.” Their main disagreement with Branstad is what they perceive as a lack of conviction on the marriage issue. Their candidate of choice is Bob Vander Plaats, a Sioux City businessman who has vowed to issue an executive order putting a stay on the Supreme Court’s decision until lawmakers pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

English told the Times Republican that his group is willing to watch Republicans go down in defeat this fall if it means turning back Republicans who don’t align with their Christian worldview.

“We answer to God, not to a political party,” he said.

A September Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found Iowans almost evenly divided about whether they would vote for or against a constitutional amendment to end same-sex marriage, with 41 percent supporting a ban and 40 percent opposing. And while 43 percent say they oppose the Supreme Court’s ruling, a whopping 63 percent say other issues are more important going into the fall election.

Nearly all — 92 percent — say gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives.

By February, 62 percent said lawmakers have more important things to worry about than same-sex marriage.

So just how much impact marriage will have on the fall campaign in hard to measure. Winning back legislative majorities is the only way forward for those hoping to pass a marriage amendment, since Democratic leaders have vowed to thwart any attempt to pass the amendment while they are in charge. On the eve of the 2010 legislative session, conservatives conceded that until Republicans oust Democratic leadership the marriage issue is dead.

For One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, he fight to preserve gay marriage is far from over.

“Republicans are still promising to make this an issue,” Clark said. “We have to get out and engage in conversation with Iowans. I think ultimately, the reasonable nature of Iowans will prevail. At their core, Iowans don’t want to treat their neighbor any differently than they are treated.”

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


Comments

  • rextrek1

    Interesting aint it how the GOP Loves to BRAG about small gov't,and gov't staying OUT of people's lives…ohhhh, except the lives of TAX PAYING LGBT Americans…..hypocritical bastards….good for Gov.Chet Culver for seeing past Bias,and moving on to REAL problems facing everyday Iowans.

  • rextrek1

    AWe poor BIGOTS….you don't get to vote on other people's happiness. HOW has 2 consenting adults marrying affected you personally? Please..do tell…it must be dramatic for you to care so much. You must know ALL the names,addresses, and occupations of those 1000's who've married…did they cause you to lose your job,money or your family? Did your marriage dissolve? How about getting a REAL problem…and worry about REAL things that ACTUALLY AFFECT people…like hunger,homelessness,joblessnes s etc?? If anything Iowa, gained some much needed revenue, a few more tourists here and there….and a decent reputation for treating everyone equally…..ohhh how tragic…..GROW THE PHUK up!

  • chuckanziulewiccz

    Here in West Virginia there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over this very same issue during the last session of the legislature. Every year some politicians start clamoring for a “Marriage Amendment” to be added to our state’s constitution. Such an amendment would forever eliminate Gay couples from any possibility of legal protection. It would also reflect poorly on the Mountain State for several reasons.

    It would conflict with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This is a law that applies to all of us — Straight, Gay, Black, White (and everything in between); able-bodied or disabled; Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Zoroastrian. That's why I like living in America.

    Supporters of such an amendment insist that marriage is “sacred” according to their religious beliefs. But it is not the purpose of government nor the Constitution to make things “sacred.” If the government considers marriage to be a religious designation rather than a legal one, it has no business making any laws concerning that institution. If, as confirmed by its actions, the government believes “marriage” to be a legal contract, it has no business denying that contract to any two people, no matter what their gender might be.

    But this amendment as currently envisioned makes no provision for law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples in West Virginia. As someone who prides himself as being nothing if not diplomatic, I would take simple legal equality under the law, even if the operative term is “civil unions.” If social conservatives simply wish to reserve the term “marriage” for heterosexual couples, they can have it, as long as Gay couples are treated fairly. If it becomes clear that a “Marriage Amendment” is to be put before the voters, it must be revised to include “civil unions” for Lesbian & Gay couples.

    Contrary to what supporters of such an amendment claim, nothing has happened to “traditional marriage” in states where Gay couples have been allowed to marry or form civil unions. Straight couples continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have, even where Gay couples are allowed to do the same.

    In fact, allowing legal unions for all couples, Gay and Straight, is beneficial to society in general. Married couples typically contribute more and take less from society; they support and care for each other financially, physically and emotionally and often contribute more to the economy and savings. Individuals who are married are less likely to receive government entitlements. Individuals who are married statistically consume less health care services, and often give more to churches and charities. And married couples are better able to provide care and security for children; this includes Gay couples who have children through adoption or some other means.

    The reason Gay and Straight couples choose to marry is to make a solemn declaration before friends and family members that they wish to make a commitment to one another's happiness, health, and well-being, to the exclusion of all others. Those friends and family members subsequently act as a force of encouragement for that couple to hold fast to their vows. That’s what makes marriage a good thing.

    In a recent column for one of our local newspapers, Jeremiah Dys of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia expressed support for such a divisive and unneeded “Marriage Amendment.” I wish he would ask himself why law-abiding, taxpaying Lesbian & Gay West Virginians should be forced to subsidize all the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage, when we are unable to take part in those same incentives? And since when do voters get to decide that the rights that apply to them should not apply to minority groups?

  • RegularJoe

    “We stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state constitution have no place in our state constitution,” Culver said…
    What “We”, Chester? Is that the same “We” who fought for working Iowans this cycle? Is it the same “We” who stood against religious bigotry last summer? Maybe the “We” who came to the immediate aid to flood victims in Eastern Iowa by calling that special session. Or the “We” that….well, you get the point.
    Chet, you don't get to be tepid at best on issues important to your base, then try to pander to them when you're down in the polls. We're not stupid, you know, nor are *We* that memory-impaired.

    • itserich

      It is good some people can still recognize pandering is not leadership. I don't know if Chet has a real opinion on this issue, or much of anythng.

      Both Democrats and Republicans take the base for granted.

  • shadow_man

    Violence against a minority group

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_L…

    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.

    http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/hate.htm

  • 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.

    http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/No…
    http://www.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homose…
    http://www.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
    http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/Biblic…
    http://www.gaychristian101.com/

    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.

    http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differ…
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146…
    Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
    http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_ge…
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k5…
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/…

    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.”

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/high…

    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.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/high…

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

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeuti… 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.

    http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/pol… rientation.aspx

  • Anonymous

    Not sure why this is trending now, but how sad to read it in the aftermath of the November Massacre of Iowa Justice. 8 months ago, there wasn’t even mention of that horrific catchphrase: “Legislating from the bench”.

    8 months ago, the prevailing attitude seemed to be “Gay marriage apparently makes some (not most) people feel oogy, but we recognize the only way to ban gay marriage constitutionally is to amend the constitution by introducing a clause deliberately permitting discrimination against gays, thus branding them as unequal to ‘real’ people and setting precedent for discrimination against them in other ways as well. Wow. We as Iowans just aren’t comfortable with amending our Constitution to make gay-hating okay. Or any hating. Because we’re nice people, and hey, not really our business. You know what would be nice, and _is_ our business? A balanced budget. Jobs. Maintaining and improving public education standards. Balancing environmental concerns with our largely ag/industrial base, so we can our kids a future without losing our present. Same sex marriage? Not really a problem, is it?”

    8 months ago the nation watched our measured response to the attempt to center campaigns on a discriminatory platform. They listened as Iowans said ‘surely we have better things to do than deprive people of their rights to pursuit of happiness, legal status, and access to their loved ones’. We set an example of objectivity, sensibility, and defense of the right of all.

    How did we change so drastically in 8 months? Someone put together an effective ad campaign. They created simple, easily memorized, inflammatory slogans that misrepresented the actions of our Supreme Court and pretended the reason they were upset was that ‘power had been stripped from the people, oh noes!’ (and had nothing to do with bunched panties over a GOP snub for gubernatorial candidacy). Never mind that the power to hate gays in legalese was never within the grasp of the voting public, because it was unconstitutional. Never mind that we always have the power to amend the Constitution, if what we really, really wanted was to add discrimination where there was none. Never mind that the vast majority (as evidenced by the shooting down of a Constitutional Convention) DO NOT WANT that change to be made. They used out of state funds and simple, manipulative misdirection to change the focus of this debate from ‘Will we amend our Constitution to include outright bigotry against a sizable population of our friends, colleagues, and neighbors’ to ‘OMGJUDGES R BAD AND STEEL OUR RIGHTS PUNISH THEM!!!’

    Iowans, we have ourselves to blame. Consider the options. Consider the stance you would like to take. Do you care about civi liberties for all, or do you want discrimination? Do you want judges to feel they can make the unpopular or easily antagonized decision because our Constitution requires it, or do you want a puppet court that weighs the drastically shifting public opinion, swayed so easily by slogans, TV ads, bad rhetoric, and out-of-state money?

    Do you want to be leaders, or would you rather be led?

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