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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.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alan Light.
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alan Light.

Marriage amendment introduced in Iowa House

Four Republicans do not sign on as co-sponsors to gay marriage ban
By Jason Hancock | 01.19.11 | 1:54 pm

A constitutional amendment that would mandate that marriage between one man and one woman is the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state was introduced Wednesday in the Iowa House, marking the beginning of what promises to be one of the most contentious debates of the 2011 legislative session.

Fifty-six of the GOP’s 60-member majority signed on as co-sponsors to House Joint Resolution 6. Four Republican lawmakers — Peter Cownie, Steven Lukan, Scott Raecker and David Tjepkes — and all 40 Democrats refused to sign on as co-sponsors. The legislation goes beyond just banning same-sex marriage. It would also ban civil unions, domestic partnerships and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples.

The amendment would invalidate the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has been repeatedly introduce over the years, coming closest to being passed in 2004, when it cleared the Iowa House but fell one vote shy of passage in the Senate, with four Republicans joining all 21 Democrats to kill the measure that year. The next year, the Republican controlled Iowa House passed a gay marriage ban, but an evenly divided Senate never took up the bill.

Democrats were in control of both legislative chambers from 2006 until January, when Republicans captured a majority in the House and promised to once again push a gay-marriage ban quickly. However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to never allow such an amendment to come up for debate. Democrats still have a 26-24 majority in the Senate.

“Amending the Iowa Constitution to exclude gay couples will harm thousands of Iowa families,” said Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT-rights organization. “Marriage says ‘we’re a family’ like nothing else and is an important way we care for those we love. Writing discrimination into the Constitution will only divide us at a time when we need to work together to tackle common concerns. Iowans expect their elected officials to focus on issues that matter to everyone, like creating jobs, providing educational opportunities, and improving healthcare. Going backward on equal rights sends the wrong message.”

Cownie told The Des Moines Register’s Jason Clayworth that he will vote in favor of the amendment, but didn’t sign on as co-sponsor at the request of some constituents in his district.

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


  • Anonymous

    Iowa Republicans will just take everything away from gay couples. Surprised they haven’t advocated for the reinstatement of the sodomy laws. Can’t stand them. This is why I only vote for Democrats or Independents.

  • David_in_Houston

    The fact that thousands of gay couples have gotten married, and it hasn’t had a negative effect on the people of Iowa, proves that the sole motivation for this amendment is extreme animus directed at gay people.

  • Anonymous

    “The legislation goes beyond just banning same-sex marriage. It would also ban civil unions, domestic partnerships and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples.”

    They’ve committed a strategic overreach, there. They barely poll a majority in Iowa as it is on the “marriage” issue itself, and polls have indicated that a significant percentage of their voters are okay with civil unions and domestic partnerships if the word “marriage” isn’t used. The bigots would have been smarter if they’d been less grabby.

    Furthermore, even if they do win this time around, it will be only temporary. Any anti-marriage amendment they pass now will just be revoked in ten years or less when the current cohort of elderly voters pass on and the current cohort of kids become voters. In pretty much every US state over the past twenty years, opposition to marriage equality had tended to steadily lose about two percentage points of its support per year.

    There’s a generational shift happening, just like there was with interracial marriage, and the bigots are once again on the losing side of history.

    • egc52556

      It may be overreach or just political tactics: they energize the base and annoy their opponents. They get to claim they are true-conservatives and protect themselves from tea-party attacks. So they see no political downside.

      • Anonymous

        Presumably, what they’re hoping for with that all-or-nothing scope is that
        voters who oppose gay marriage-per-se but support civil unions and domestic
        partnerships will be willing to sacrifice civil unions and domestic
        partnerships to get rid of gay marriage-per-se. Some will, of course, and
        some won’t.

        What I hope is that enough of those straddle-voters won’t be willing to
        sacrifice the things they do support to eliminate the thing they don’t

        Hard to say which way it will go. As I understand it, the earliest such an
        election could possibly be held is 2013 (*i.e.*, the amendment passes both
        houses in either the 2011 or 2012 session, then passes again in the 2013
        session of the next General Assembly, and the legislature agrees to a
        statewide special election on the subject in 2013 rather than waiting for
        the next statewide general election in 2014.)

        However, if the Democrats hold their ground during this General Assembly
        (the 2011 and 2012 sessions), but the amendment passes during the next
        General Assembly (either of the 2013 or 2014 sessions) and the amendment
        passes again in the 2015 session of the following General Assembly, then the
        earliest a special election could be scheduled would be sometime in 2015.

        As discussed before, each year such an election is postponed improves our
        side’s numbers and makes it less likely the amendment will be adopted.

  • Anonymous

    WOW – Iowa must be Soooo Successful…….No Unemployment, no Hunger or Homelessess…..The Legislature is just Soo bored they can’t think of anything else to do with thier time..>? I guess the GOP Hate Machine…..wants Iowa to SPEND MILLIONS $$$ in court,and YEARS of Litigation. You think the people that HAVE BEEN married are gonna sit idly by,and let this happen..? This WILL BECOME another Prop (Hate)8 case…….you will NOT Dissolve the 1000′s of Marriages that have,and will have taken place……..and at the same time, you WILL Put Iowa In the History Books, as a Hatin’,Bigoted state ON THE WRONG side of History , while forever ruining it’s Reputation of Fairness and Equality. ..and as usual I see the USUAL commentors who LOVE all things GAY,GAY,GAY……on here…who can’t help but to Fall all over themselves to make negative comments about the LGBT community….you know the Very SAME guys who CAN’t Hold a Handrail, or Flashlight, or Themselves..cause it feels Icky. (like Blowtorch,and just say no no no) ……see, it was NEVER Just about the Judges…it was about Bigotry AGAINST LGBT Iowans ALL ALONG………….all you gotta do is even look at the wording they want to strip TAx paying Gay Iowans, of thier rights to marriage,civil unions and even domestic partnerships……….you know, the Usual Christian Love.

  • Duane Kruse

    The GOP opposition to gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion rights and birth control are based on one version of Christianity. Their constant chipping away of our constitutional right to separation of church and state places Iowa and the nation on the slippery slope to theocracy.

  • UIGrad2010

    The republican party is nothing if not the nation’s largest homophobic organization. And here in Iowa it is obviously more homophobic than many places. Dear republicans: you are out of touch with Iowa and with the next generation. Please understand you look like obvious bigots by pursuing this heap of crap legislation.

    Also, Mike Gronstal should be praised for his commitment to the promotion of equality and fairness and the rule of law that ALL Iowans are promised.

  • egc52556

    Open Letter to All Iowa Legislators:

    I ask you to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 that seeks to deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry.

    Why should you oppose this action?

    1. The government should not be involved in the decision of two consenting adults to marry. It’s an unnecessary expansion of big government into the private lives of Iowa’s citizens.

    2. Same-sex marriage is a civil right, the same as any marriage: different-sex, same-race, interracial, mixed-religion, same-region, etc. Civil Rights should not be decided by a majority vote. The essential need for civil rights laws are to project the minority from the rule of the majority. We are ruled by laws, not the might of the numerous and strong.

    3. Because it is the Christian thing to do. This may sound odd since many objections to same-sex marriage are founded in Biblical beliefs. But that’s only one interpretation of the Bible, which also teaches us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, to judge not lest we be judged, and to care for the beam in our own eye before we worry about the mote in our neighbors’.

    4. Because it doesn’t matter if it is the Christian thing to do. America was founded as a refuge from religious tyranny. We cannot bring to God those whose faith offends us by compelling them to behave as we wish they did. Are we to become like the Taliban who attempt to compel and frighten “non-believers” into religious conformity?

    Not that it should matter, but I’d like you to know that I am not homosexual and am not interested in same-sex marriage for myself. My wife and I have been happily and faithfully married for 25+ years and have raised our 3 sons here in Iowa. We have raised them to believe that America is a land of freedom and liberty. It’s excruciating to us that we are even considering restricting the freedoms of our fellow citizens simply because their love for each other is offensive to some.

    Iowa is better than this.
    America is better than this.
    And we should be better than this.

  • Anonymous

    STEALTH AMENDMENT: As noted by ConstitutionFan, the proposed amendment seems to be similar to stealth amendments promoted in other states. That is, it will be advertised as a simple measure to end same-sex marriages. But in reality it would also prohibit the legislature from creating civil unions or domestic partnerships in the future — something that most voters in Iowa supported back in 2009 according to opinion polls.

    But it would seem to also eliminate all state recognition of common-law marriages — marital relationships that are recognized by Iowa and about 8 other states.

    I wonder if anyone in the LGBT community will notice.

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