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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.

Photo by Dave Davidson,
Photo by Dave Davidson,

Branstad refuses to say whether gay marriage bill goes too far

By Beth Dalbey | 01.31.11 | 12:30 pm

Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday morning that Iowans should be allowed to vote on same-sex marriage, but declined to say if a proposed resolution to be debated tonight at a public hearing is too far-reaching in denying state recognition of civil unions and other domestic partnerships.

“I think the people of Iowa would appreciate and feel strongly that they should be given the opportunity to vote,” Branstad said in a news conference with Statehouse reporters in response to a question from The Iowa Independent. He said whether the proposal goes too far is a matter for the legislature to sort out and not an issue that falls under the purview of the governor.

“That’s a legislative issue,” Branstad said. “What the people of Iowa want is an opportunity to vote on marriage defined as one man and one woman.”

Monday night’s two-hour hearing on House Joint Resolution 6 begins at 6:30 in the Iowa House chambers. Dozens of Iowans are scheduled to speak for and against the proposed amendment, which would have to pass both the House and the Senate in two consecutive general assemblies before going to a public vote. The proposed resolution faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, has vowed to block it.

Civil rights advocates have blasted the proposed resolution, which states that “marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state,” as writing prejudice and discrimination into the Iowa Constitution.

Branstad said Iowa voters overwhelmingly expressed their desire to vote on same-sex marriage in the November judicial retention election in which three Supreme Court justices were ousted. In a unanimous April 2009 ruling, the high court upheld a lower court ruling in Varnum vs. Brien that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated equal protection rights guaranteed in the Iowa Constitution.

On a related issue, Branstad said interviews with nine finalists to fill the vacancies recommended by the 15-member Judicial Nominating Commission will likely begin next week. Initial interviews with the 60 people who applied for appointments were held in open, but the governor’s interviews will be closed. He says it’s a matter of fairness, because candidates interviewed later in the process would have an unfair advantage over the first interviewers.

The name of only one woman – University of Iowa law professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig – was included in the Judicial Nominating Commission’s recommendation, which Branstad said was disappointing. Only two women have ever served on the high court, including former Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, who along with Justices David Baker and Michael Streit were turned out by voters in November.

The only other woman to serve on the Supreme Court was Linda Neuman, who served from 1986 to 2003.

Other finalists to be considered by Branstad are District Judges Robert James Blink of West Des Moines, Arthur Gamble of Clive, Michael R. Mullins of Washington and Bruce B. Zager of Waterloo; Iowa Appeals Court Judge Edward M. Mansfield of Des Moines; and private attorneys John C. Gray of Sioux City, Steven Verne Lawyer of New Virginia and Thomas Dana Waterman of Pleasant Valley.

Branstad said he won’t specifically ask the finalists about the Varnum decision, but will question them more generally to determine their fairness, temperament, knowledge and expertise.

He said his chief legal counsel, Brenna Findley, will review the backgrounds of the finalists. Findley, who formerly worked in the office of conservative Congressman Steve King, unsuccessfully challenged Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, in the November election.

“I take this very, very seriously,” Branstad said.


  • Anonymous

    Its ESTABLISHED LAW & RIGHT, and NO one – absolutely ON-One should Vote on the RIGHTS of other Tax Paying Citizens – Period! Disgraceful and Patheitc republican BS…but what do you expect from zealots / buy-bull thumpers and bottom feeders!

  • UIGrad2010

    Terry Branstad is going to do nothing but kill jobs and ruin our state. And he and his mustache are wrong on marriage equality and he is clearly playing to religious bigotry that abounds in Iowa. Get ready for this election season, it will be as homophobic as ever. The irrational idiots will be out in full force.

  • Anonymous

    “Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday morning that Iowans should be allowed to vote on same-sex marriage, but declined to say if a proposed resolution to be debated tonight at a public hearing is too far-reaching in denying state recognition of civil unions and other domestic partnerships.”

    “That’s a legislative issue,” Branstad said. “What the people of Iowa want is an opportunity to vote on marriage defined as one man and one woman.”

    The proposed amendment bans more that marriage, Governor. You have no credibility. Your bigotry is showing.

  • W Scott Lincoln

    Branstad loves to pick and chose when it’s a legislative issue he should comment on and when it isn’t. I wonder what he will do when an issue comes up that actual requires the governor’s opinion. Branstad might remember that such a situation actual arises each and every time the legislature passes something. This constitutional amendment is a rare exception.

  • Anonymous

    This has been said many times and I say it now; basic rights should NEVER be put to popular vote.

    Things like religion are irrelevant in cases such as marriage because it has now and ALWAYS been a civil institution.

  • egc52556

    Yes, Gov. Branstad, while we’re at it let’s put the rights of blacks, women, and non-property owners to the vote. How about the rights of that most-visible minority: mustachioed conservatives? It doesn’t matter what our Constitution says, everything is up for reinterpretation by the majority. What’s the Constitution anyway except a bunch of words?

    • Anonymous

      I see one problem with your proposed vote: Bob Vander Plaats doesn’t have a mustache. Of course, I’m sure we can get a majority vote to force him to grow one…after all, if a majority can require a person to forego their sexual orientation and only marry someone of the opposite gender, whether they find that gender revolting or not, controlling an individual’s right to facial hair or the lack thereof should be easy!

      We just have to spin it the right way. I know, how about this: ‘No where in the Constitution is it written that a man shall be allowed to opt out of having facial hair. Facial hair is clearly a God-given state, as indicated by the way it keeps growing back, and the fact that every picture of Jesus shows him with flowing light-brown chin-locks. Indeed, it is necessary to correctly separate men and women without requiring them to drop their drawers. To shave is to go against God; to allow a man to shave is to allow sin and depravity around your children, which is clearly child abuse, as well as an enticement to Satan. Therefore, shaving will be banned (unless you’re a woman, in which case, facial hair will be seen as the sign of the Devil, whose mark is goatlike hair). To do anything else would be to strip away the POWER OF THE PEOPLE to have a gender identified without MANDATORY STRIP SEARCHES. Will we be a confused genderless state, or one which rightfully separates into complete dichotomy, as God intended? The choice is ONLY the people’s if the corrupt, deceptive, cross-dresser enabling sin of shaving is BANNED!!!”

      See, I could be an ubercon. It’s not even hard. You just need a VP-load of flawed pseudo-logic, a Bible, and a whole lot of capslock.

  • George

    I want to vote on traffic cameras, radar, radio station ownership limits, and funny mustaches, and hipocrits.

  • George

    I want to vote to take away the right of sickly politicians to dye their freaky mustache. And that goes for the rest of his bogus presentation.

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