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April 7th, 2009

Compassion Was Our Weakness

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Written by: Craig Robinson

One of the things that became very apparent as Republicans read through the recent Supreme Court decision finding in favor of the gay couples seeking marriage licenses in Polk County was that being compassionate towards homosexuals in the past led us down the road to gay marriage today.

A few years back, in 2007 to be exact, sexual orientation and gender identity were added as protected classes of people (in addition to such classes as race and gender) under the civil rights section (Chapter 216) of the Iowa Code. This prohibited anyone from discriminating against these groups of people in areas such as housing, employment, and education.

At the time, there really wasn’t much of an uproar about this, even amongst Republicans. Sure, some of our socially conservative groups spoke out against it, but, for the most part, most Republicans weren’t going to die on that hill. After all, no one is for discrimination against anyone, right? No, of course not.

Also in 2007, the anti-bullying law was passed (Chapter 280.28 of the Iowa Code). That law aims to prohibit bullying of students in schools based on certain traits or characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity (once again, along with such classes as race and gender, among others).

Once again, this didn’t really cause that much of a stir in political circles (other than with the aforementioned socially conservative groups). After all, no one should be able to bully anyone, right? What was it really going to hurt to include the GLTB crowd?

These laws are only reasonable, aren’t they? I mean, anyone who is okay with bullying or discrimination is just a cold-hearted, evil Christian right-wing wacko, right?

And we were told that these laws had nothing to do with gay marriage – and, at least some of us were dumb enough to believe that.

But, now that we have read the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage, we can see how all of that was a pack of lies. The Court specifically cited these two laws when determining that the legislature had set a precedent for considering homosexuals to be “suspect class” of people that invoked a higher “intermediate” level of scrutiny, which made it much easier for the Court to find Iowa’s law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman to be unconstitutional.

It’s too bad that so many Republicans lacked the foresight to see this coming a mile away. Too many of us succumbed to the pressure to do what was perceived as popular instead of sticking to our principles and doing what was right.

And now our poor decision-making skills have come back to haunt us.

The sad thing is, these laws were never really about compassion; they were about paving the way for gay marriage and playing on the sympathies of people for political gain.

Republicans need to learn a lesson and never be this naïve again.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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