There is a saying painted on one of the walls inside the Iowa Capitol building which reads, “Where law ends, tyranny begins.” Thanks to the unconstitutional action of seven Supreme Court Justices, Iowans now have to question if the rule of law will ever govern again, or if we will forever live under the tyranny of the judiciary. The resulting Constitutional crisis surrounding homosexual “marriage” has taught the people of Iowa several important lessons.
First, the court is no respecter of people, the law, or the constitution. Their willingness to force an entire state to pretend the law passed by the people’s representatives is irrelevant and their actions to force us to treat their opinion as law reveals a presumption of power that the Founding Fathers feared might one day settle in on the judicial branch.
Iowans also learned that the leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party answer to someone other than the people of Iowa. They have no interest in public opinion, compromise, common sense, or submitting to the Constitution. The leaders of the Democratic Party are only interested in serving the special interests who fund their campaigns, pushing for larger government, keeping the citizens of Iowa as far away from the political process as possible, and undermining western civilization wherever possible.
The agenda and actions of Mike Gronstal, Pat Murphy, and the Democrats in the Iowa legislature this year illustrates a huge disconnect from the majority of voting Democrats in this state. It is also inconsistent with some moderate Democratic legislators who are forced to work under their “leadership.” Hopefully, moderate voices in the Democratic Party, and Democratic legislators will work to overturn the extremists who are now in charge, so the people of Iowa can be heard.
Next, this Constitutional crisis revealed that the Republican Party of Iowa is nearly devoid of leadership. With a handful of encouraging exceptions, the Republican Party and many of the Republicans in elected office, showed no willingness to fight and very little Constitutional literacy. The official party apparatus and the Senate Republicans, by and large, failed to rally around the marriage issue. Some notable exceptions include Senator Merlin Bartz who went out on a limb to protect the county recorders who are on the front lines of this constitutional crisis. Senator Bartz worked with pro-family and pro-liberty groups to find a solution, and for that he deserves our thanks. Additionally, Senator Randy Feenstra and Senator David Johnson made speeches on the floor in defense of marriage.
While impassioned speeches and conscience clauses were important in the heat of the moment, it is exceedingly disappointing that the Senate Republicans never thought to introduce companion legislation to Representative Dwayne Alons’ House version of the Iowa Marriage Amendment. Because of that glaring oversight, Iowa citizens were forced to call on Senate Republicans to take extreme measures to bring the Iowa Marriage Amendment to the floor for a vote. We, the undersigned groups believe that much more could have been done, even in the waning moments of the session, to move the Iowa Marriage Amendment. The unwillingness of Senate Republicans to stand on principle and break with senate tradition has revealed much about the vacuum of leadership in the Senate.
Similar work was being done by pro-family and pro-liberty groups in the Iowa House. While some came along reluctantly at first, Republicans in the Iowa House did take a stand. We owe a thank you to the House Republican caucus and to folks like Dwayne Alons, Kraig Paulsen, Christopher Rants, Jodi Tymeson, Rod Roberts, Kent Sorenson, and Jason Schultz for forcing a vote on marriage in the Iowa House. Their efforts were the silver lining to the dark cloud that settled over the entire process this year.
It is amazing that as the minority party, so many Republicans showed so little awareness of the huge political advantage Democrats tried to hand them on several occasions this session. They were certainly aware of the fact that that the homosexual “marriage” case was floating along in the Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard in the court just weeks before this session began! Why the Senate didn’t follow the leadership of the House in properly preparing is a mystery.
Worse than the absence of any strategic or political victory on this issue in the Senate is the lingering possibility that when push comes to shove, many would rather protect legislative traditions than take a stand to protect traditional marriage. The Republican “leaders” in the Senate, and their caucus, must quickly educate themselves on their Constitutional duties and make a decision to lead before the next legislative session.
If Iowa’s elected officials in both parties don’t get their act together, they won’t need to worry about their majority or minority status. They will need to begin to consider instead that they may find themselves without the votes to exist at all. The Iowa Constitution clearly states, “All political power is inherent in the people.” It’s time we the people took our political power back from those who abuse it.
Whatever happens, citizens of Iowa affiliated with both parties, who believe in and understand the Constitution, must run for office. Unless the next legislative session produces a different outcome, 2010 may be the year of the primary. After the last four months, it seems that many of the politicians who currently serve in the House and Senate are not up to the task.
Bill Salier – Everyday America
Danny Carroll – Iowa Family Policy Center
Kitty Rehberg – Eagle Forum of Iowa
Pastor Brad Cranston – Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values
Contact number 515-401-2488
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