Yesterday afternoon, I attended the subcommittee meeting on the proposed Iowa Marriage Amendment. The room was packed with passionate people of both sides of the issue. Des Moines Register political columnist, Kathie Obradovich, wrote about the meeting here.
Obradovich points out that Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, the only Democrat on the subcommittee, peppered Rep. Dwayne Alons and Rep. Chris Hagenow with questions about the difficulties that same-sex couples had visiting loved ones in the hospital, holding joint property, and other rights that come with marriage.
Wessel-Kroeschell’s questions were backed by the individual testimonies that were presented to the subcommittee. For the most part, Alons and Hagenow didn’t attempt to answer those questions.
A quick lesson in personal responsibility is all that would have been needed. Same-sex couples can easily address those issues by entering into a legal contract with their partners that would determine joint ownership of property, powers of attorney, and even custody. Alons and Hagenow instead focused entirely on the argument that the people of Iowa should decide this matter, not the courts, or even the legislature.
In her column, Obradovich writes, “Lawmakers can’t simply wash their hands of the consequences of the amendment just because they’re letting Iowans decide whether to adopt it.” Unfortunately, she forgets that the legislature did wash their hands of the entire issue, which is why it was ultimately settled in the courts.
Wessel-Kroeschell’s remark that, “This is the people’s House” and that the people elected their legislators to represent them was almost laughable when you consider that the legislature had every opportunity to deal with the marriage issue but failed to do so.
Iowa Democrats controlled every branch of state government for the previous four years. During that time they had every opportunity to pass laws that would have allowed for same-sex marriage, but chose not to. Instead, they let the Iowa Supreme Court carry all of the water on this issue.
For the past two years, Democrat leaders in the House and Senate blocked every attempt to let the people’s representatives vote on this amendment. After seeing Republicans and Democrats toss the issue of gay marriage around like a hot potato for the past decade, I think its only right to let the people of Iowa settle the issue for once and all.
The Iowa Marriage Amendment, or House Joint Resolution 6, passed both the subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee yesterday. Another public hearing is scheduled for next week.
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