There is an interesting parallel between the effort to repeal Obamacare in Congress and the effort to pass the Iowa Marriage Amendment in the Iowa legislature.
In both instances, the Republican controlled U.S. and Iowa House of Representatives easily passed each piece of legislation with the support of every Republican lawmaker. Three Democrats also broke ranks with their party on both pieces of legislation. The final parallel that both the Iowa Marriage Amendment and the repeal of Obamacare share is that they both faced certain death in the Senate, but that’s where the similarities end.
In the Iowa Senate, the votes exist to pass the marriage amendment. Sen. Tom Hancock of Epworth and Sen. Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg told the Des Moines Register yesterday that they would support the measure if it comes to a vote in the Iowa Senate. In the U.S. Senate yesterday, it became abundantly clear that the votes repeal Obamacare didn’t exist when it failed on a party-line vote.
The biggest difference between what went down in the U.S. Senate yesterday and the issue of marriage that is now in front of the Iowa Senate is that the at least every U.S. Senator had the opportunity to vote on the repeal of Obamacare. Sadly, Iowa Senators will not have the opportunity to vote on the marriage amendment unless Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has a change in heart.
It’s hard to fathom that a piece of legislation that has the necessary votes to pass can simply be ignored because the Senate Majority Leader is afraid of the outcome. It’s also ironic that Senator Jack Kibbie, who presides over the Iowa Senate as the Senate President, is basically powerless.
Even if 26 or more senators sign a discharge petition to place the Iowa Marriage Amendment on the Senate’s debate calendar, there is nothing that will force Gronstal to actually schedule the bill for debate. Since Gronstal has the prerogative to basically ignore any bill that he chooses, it’s easy to understand why many Iowans are frustrated with the situation.
The people’s frustration is more than warranted. While those who support gay marriage simply want to maintain what they have post-Varnum, they fail to realize that, when it comes to marriage in Iowa, we are in a state of lawlessness.
Current Iowa marriage laws prevent marriages between a man and his father’s sister, mother’s sister, daughter, sister, son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter, brother’s daughter, or sister’s daughter. The law also prevents marriages between a woman and her father’s brother, mother’s brother, son, brother, son’s son, daughter’s son, brother’s son, sister’s sons, as well as marriages between first cousins.
It’s easy to understand why the proponents of same-sex marriage are not demanding that Sen. Gronstal and other legislative leaders pass laws that would recognize gay marriages in the state because doing so would open a can of worms. Since Iowa’s marriage laws currently say nothing about same-sex marriages, there is nothing that prevents a man from marrying his father, his father’s brother, his brother, and nothing preventing a woman from marrying her mother, her mother’s sister or her own sister.
Passing the Iowa Marriage Amendment does more than just restore traditional marriage in Iowa, it also eliminates all of the contradictions that currently exist in Iowa’s marriage laws following the Varnum case. While some people think that Sen. Gronstal is making a courageous stand, he’s actually just perpetuating a state of lawlessness when it comes to Iowa’s marriage laws.
If Gronstal was courageous, he would try to pass a marriage law that actually recognizes same-sex marriage. Gronstal isn’t being courageous. He’s really just abusing his power by ignoring a major problem facing our state.
blog comments powered by Disqus