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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.

Lawmaker wants to exclude gay couples from state camp site policy

By Jason Hancock | 05.07.10 | 9:51 am

State Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, told Radio Iowa Thursday that he wants to be “vigilant” and keep state agencies from writing rules that extend new benefits to gay couples. His latest target: camping rules in the state park system.

Bartz wants the Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials to explain why gay couples should be eligible for family camping at state parks. The state allows families to put up more than one tent on a camp site, and Bartz is worried the DNR is going to change its rules to include gay couples in its definition of “family.”

The Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s Defense of Marriage Act last year, legalizing same-sex marriage.

From Radio Iowa:

“A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says. “The reality of it is that everything is changing.”

Bartz garnered headlines shortly after the Iowa Supreme Court decision last year when he, along with the Iowa Family Policy Center, called for county recorders to defy the ruling and refuse marriage licenses to gay couples. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller pointed out, however, that county recorders do not have that type of authority, and ultimately there were no couples denied a license.

Bartz also attempted to insert language into a bill that would have allowed county recorders to refuse to issue a marriage license as a “matter of conscience” without fear of prosecution. The language was ruled out of order.

The state legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee will discuss the matter Monday, but any decision on a rule change won’t happen until this summer.

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


  • ConstitutionFan

    “Bartz wants the Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials to explain why gay couples should be eligible for family camping at state parks.”

    Ummmm… because they're a family? Am I missing something here?

    Seriously? This yahoo is freaked that a gay or lesbian married couple— who can already set up one tent at a state campground regardless of marital status— might bring along their kids and set up an additional tent? He regards this as a crisis the legislature must avert? The sky will fall down if he doesn't prevent it?

    • Phoenix_Rising

      Nah, he's creepier than that: He wants us to be forced to share our tent with our kids, instead of letting them grow into the independence of having their own tent.

      Maybe he thinks, correctly, that the presence of my child in the tent will prevent me from having homosexual sex in an Iowa state park. He's doing his part to stand up against an epidemic of gay couples enjoying camping!

      Seriously, though, I'm grateful for object lessons in stupidity like this guy. He's provided an example of the opposition we're facing in trying to lives our lives and raise our kids.

      • ConstitutionFan

        Two thoughts about that, Phoenix_Rising.

        First, when asked why same-sex marriage shouldn't be legal, one of the most common tropes among homophobes is claiming that the children will suffer societal rejection because of their parents. So, if Bartz is genuinely worried about the children, how does it make any sense for his solution to be a law making sure they feel societally rejected because of their parents?

        Second, although I haven't checked the Iowa Code to see if it's still there in its original form, I recollect there was a law passed during Branstad's tenure as governor that prohibited all sex by anybody on state property. If that's still true, you and your spouse are already prohibited from having sex in that tent, as an opposite-sex couple would also be.

        The law was passed to prevent hookers from working in the Interstate rest stops, but it was phrased so broadly that some pointed out it would on its face prohibit the governor and his wife from having sex at Terrace Hill, the governor's mansion. (As there were a lot of rumors around the state at the time that Mr. and Mrs. Branstad despised one another and that Terry was stepping out on her pretty frequently, wags replied that even if the law did encompass Terrace Hill that wouldn't present any legal problem for the Branstads.)

    • dfflick

      A better question would be aimed at Sen. Bartz: why should same-sex (married) couples be treated differently?

  • rextrek1

    wow- this weirdo is worried that LGBT people might be treated fairly? ..and its a wonder WHY I would NEVER vote GOP……how is allowing LGBT families to share in Equality affecting him directly? What loss to him is it – IF LGBT families are treated equally? This man makes me sick.

  • monroecolby

    Is it the extra tents that this religious bigot is upset about, or is it the association of “family” benefits? This is a wild goose chase. While his intentions are to show religious disdain towards gay people, and codify that into law, we've got greater things to worry about.

    The Iowa gays should focus on their federal entitlements to marriage benefits! The best revenge against religious bigots is to live equally protected under the law!

  • idonovan

    Is Bartz really concerned that multi-tent family camping by people who happen to be gay is an issue? An issue that's a higher priority than the many other problems our state is facing? Or is he just hoping to cash in on hate-mongering cheap-shots so that his name gets in the news so homophobes donate to his campaign? I'm not sure what's worse: him being an ignorant homophobe with misplaced priorities, or a fear-spreading opportunist.

  • jove4015

    This is precisely why civil unions don't work… Here they're already even fully married, but still the opportunity for discrimination exists because the state parks policy uses “husband and wife” language. A word does matter, and one tiny word can mean the difference between a tent for the kids, and one lousy camping trip. I for one would like to see what this language is. After all, I'd have no problem referring to my husband as, say, my husband, so I'm curious as to why “husband and wife” language would make a lick's worth of difference.

  • billyfla

    “A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says.

    Yes, alas I can see that the opponents of equality have a point! If gay marriage equality means that gay couples can go camping, this is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Gay couples camping is a MAJOR threat to society as we know it!

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