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.
blog comments powered by Disqus