Friday was the last day lawmakers could act on Republican Senator Dennis Guth’s proposed resolution.
“Iowans have been swindled out of their rights and marriage has been redefined right under their noses without their say,” Guth told Senate colleagues. ”Don’t continue to let your constituents be duped into thinking that there is a law on the books that redefines marriage, because we do not have any properly voted on law.”
Directing his remarks to Senate leaders, he added: “I call on you to bring the marriage amendment out of committee and allow it to be debated on the floor so that the people of Iowa can vote on the definition of marriage in this great state.” But neither the House nor Senate assigned the measure to a committee before Friday’s self-imposed deadline.
Social conservatives have been promoting the Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA) since 2009, when the state’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law which prevented gay couples from marrying. In 2010, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House approved the amendment. But the effort has been blocked in the Senate by Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, who easily won re-election in November despite a high-profile effort to defeat him.
Guth’s resolution has 17 co-sponsors and remains eligible for consideration next year. Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine
Jones told the commission that Deputy Susan Henderson followed her inside the restroom and yelled that Jones needed to immediately leave. Jones complied but said she told the deputy she had the legal right to use the restroom of her choice and alleges that Henderson replied that she would not let her use the restroom “regardless of what the law is.”
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Before Dunkerton High School in Iowa agreed to allow the band Junkyard Prophet to run an assembly for its students — and certainly before the school’s officials agreed to produce the band’s fee, which is ordinarily $1,500 — school officials really ought to have run the band’s name through Google.
If they had, they’d have realized that Junkyard Prophet is the proselytizing apparatus of You Can Run But You Can’t Hide Ministries, a Christianist group with a message precisely as vengeful and violent as its name suggests.
The band’s founder, officials would have learned, is drummer Bradlee Dean: the lugubrious beatmaker who called Barack Obama a heathen while delivering an opening prayer at the Minnesota State House, and who occasionally suggests that Christians should take their cues on gay rights from conservative, sharia-abiding Muslims.
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Melissa and Heather Gartner, a married couple from Iowa, won a lawsuit Wednesday allowing them to list both their names on their two-year-old daughter Mackenzie’s birth certificate. Lambda Legal helped the women in the lawsuit, drawing on Varnum v. Brien, the case establishing marriage equality in Iowa.
Here’s the Advocate’s rundown of what happened:
Although the women were married under Iowa law before the child was born in November 2009, the state agency had refused to list both their names on the birth certificate, arguing that Melissa is not Mackenzie’s genetic parent.
Judge Ovrom stopped short in her ruling of declaring a constitutional right for same-sex couples to be automatically named as parents on birth certificates, but she said that state administrators are bound to interpret law in light of the 2009 marriage equality decision from the high court.
Unquestionably the right decision. Congratulations to a beautiful, deserving family.
Mitt Romney was declared winner of the Iowa caucuses in a photo finish. But the LGBT community may not have escaped the Rick Santorum surge in polls as Iowans delivered a come-from-way-behind surge on Tuesday and perhaps propelled his antigay agenda onto the national stage.
Networks had dubbed the race “too close to call” but late in the night Romney was announced by the Iowa GOP as the winner of a three-way race to the finish that ended with him beating Santorum by a mere eight votes, both with 25% of the vote. Ron Paul finished third with 21%.
Santorum rode a wave of enthusiasm in recent polls that followed his sudden rise from single digits to a reported 15% in the most recent Des Moines Register poll, which is well regarded for its accuracy predicting how Republican caucuses will unfold. The poll was taken over four days from December 27 to 30, and during the first two days Santorum averaged 10% but doubled that number in the last two days of the survey.
The Register poll found that more than 40% were still open to changing their minds, then NBC reported on Tuesday that its entrance polling found 31% of people who made their decision on the day of the caucuses went for Santorum.
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Two influential Iowa antigay activists have chosen their preferred Republican presidential candidate — former U.S. senator Rick Santorum.
Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of Family Leader, and Chuck Hurley, president of its education division, the Iowa Family Policy Center, announced their endorsement of Santorum at a press conference this morning in Urbandale and called on other conservative candidates to unite, The Des Moines Register reports. However, Family Leader as an organization will remain neutral — an indication of the division among the right wing over which GOP hopeful to support in the Iowa presidential caucus, which takes place January 3.
Santorum, Texas governor Rick Perry, and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann are the favorites of the right, and polls indicate each is supported by about 10% of Iowa Republicans. Hurley, without naming names, said socially conservative candidates should “team up,” according to the Register.
“Why can’t the top three or so pro-family candidates come together and figure out who has the talents for president, who has the talents for other roles?” Hurley said. “And those people could quickly … vaunt into first place and win the caucuses and win the nomination.”
Far-right leaders, the Register notes, are worried that if social conservatives’ votes are divided among several candidates, it could result in a caucus win for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who by their standards is a moderate. As an indicator of the intense competition, Hurley said one activist had threatened to “burn [Vander Plaats’s] body, drag it through the streets, and hang it from a bridge” if he didn’t support the person’s chosen candidate. Hurley did not say who the candidate was.
Vander Plaats had much praise for Santorum, who represented Pennsylvania in the Senate and has a long history of antigay and anti-abortion stances. “I believe Rick Santorum comes from us,” Vander Plaats said at the press conference, according to Politico.“Not to us. He comes from us. He is one of us.” Hurley added that Santorum “meets and exceeds the biblical qualifications” for endorsement by conservative Christians.
Santorum welcomed the endorsement, releasing a statement saying it “will be a terrific catalyst for our campaign as we continue building momentum in Iowa,” Politico reports.
Meanwhile, a national antigay group, the American Family Association, has endorsed Newt Gingrich for president. Read more here.
Democrats retain control of Iowa senate, blocking GOP efforts to repeal gay marriage | LGBTQNATION.COM
Iowa Democrat Liz Mathis was victorious in a special Iowa state Senate race on Tuesday, allowing her party to retain control of the chamber, blocking Republican efforts to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.
Democrats will maintain a 26-24 edge through the 2012 legislative session, reported the Des Moines Register.
Republicans had hoped for a 25-25 tie and the potential opportunity to move forward on now-gridlocked priorities, such as a move to begin the process to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa.
“I pledge to the voters of this district: I will go to the Capitol and fight for you every day. I will be your voice in the State Senate,” Mathis, a former television news anchor, said after her win Tuesday night.
Mathis received 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns, in one of the most expensive races in the state’s legislative history. Nearly $1 million was raised for the race as of last Friday.
Small business owner Cindy Golding, a Republican, received 44 percent, and third-party candidate Jon Tack received 1 percent.
The seat became open in September with the resignation of Democrat Swati Dandekar, whom Republican Gov. Terry Branstad appointed as a member the Iowa Utilities Board.
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The University of Iowa campus
LGBT students at the University of Iowa are vying to get their own residence hall floor.
According to Quentin Hill, a freshman from Eagle Grove, the GLBT Allied Union Executive Board is working with University Housing and Dining to have a designated floor for the school year beginning in 2012.
To make the plan a reality, Hill says, they need about 50 students to sign up. And even though an attempt was made to offer the option on housing applications for the current year, only about 10 students signed up.
“I think it needs to be better advertised,” he said. “We will keep trying.”
While the none of Iowa’s state universities currently offer exclusive residence halls or floors to LGBT students, The Gazette reports that the University of Iowa does have “more than a dozen residence hall floors designated as Living Learning Communities (LLC). The communities generally are focused around specific areas of study such as engineering or business.”
A representative from the University’s Housing and Dining Department said a floor designated for LGBT students would be classified as an LLC.
Hill disagrees that an LGBT floor would contribute to a rise in campus harassment, vandalism, or hate crimes, saying, “People seem to be open and affirming here, and accepting even though they might not agree with it.”
Read the full article here.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to directly respond Monday to a recent media report revealing that $2.2 million in federal money that had gone to an Iowa group aided in its efforts to undo marriage equality in the state.
In response to a question from the Washington Blade, Carney said he was unaware of the Associated Press report about the issue and declined to say whether the Obama administration has a problem with federal resources being used for that purpose.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Carney said. “I’ll have to take that question.”
Carney also demurred when asked about the idea of President Obama issuing an executive order that would bar the use of federal funds for discriminatory efforts against LGBT Americans as a means to address the issue.
“I don’t have any — I mean, you’re asking a hypothetical about an executive order that doesn’t exist,” Carney said.
Last week, AP reported that $2.2 million in a federal grant received by the group — now known as the FAMiLY LEADER — between 2006 and 2010 for marriage counseling purposes also helped pay some operational expenses while the organization was leading a campaign against same-sex marriage. The information was found through grant documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
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A new bill to be considered in the Iowa House Wednesday would allowsmall businesses and religious organizations to deny services to people whose marriages violate their personal religious beliefs.
House Study Bill 50, also as the Religious Conscience Protection Act, is modeled after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law that prevents violation of the individual right to practice free religion. The new bill would directly affect legally married gay couples – and potentially also heterosexual marriages.
As Kathie Obradovich said in the DesMoines Register:
”It’s easy to think of types of heterosexual unions that might offend someone’s religious beliefs. Do all Christian churches recognize Muslim marriages as valid? What about common-law marriages? My church doesn’t allow divorced people to marry unless their previous union has been annulled.”
The bill was discussed in committee Wednesday, though Rep. Richard Anderson (R) said he had some concerns about the bill and won’t advance it this session.
Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference, is promoting the bill. “We want to hang on to our religious identity and continue to provide services by doing what we believe our religion calls us to do,” he told the Iowa Independent.
Vivki Lensing (D-Iowa City) said the bill directly infringes upon the Iowa Civil Rights Code and Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said,
“since no church has to perform or recognize same-sex marriage, what this bill in your state does is give religious bigotry a sanction unheard of in this country.”
Iowa State Rep. Dwayne Alons (R), a co-sponsor of Iowa’s anti-gay marriage bill:
Gay marriage in Iowa made national headlines again this week, after the state’s House of Representatives voted 62-37 in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban it. The vote angered the marriage equality movement, but from it a star was born:
Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student and son of a lesbian couple, spoke at the capitol building the day before and his speech has since gone viral.
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University of Iowa student Zach Wals has become a cyberspace celebrity after the three minute Youtube video of his speech defending gay marriage went viral. He delivered the speech to the Iowa House of Representatives on Monday explaining how being raised by a lesbian couple had no effect on the content of his character.
Wals told the Representatives he grew up like any other kid, attending church and going to Boy Scouts. He hoped his government would provide fair and equal treatment to all Iowans.
As the House approached a vote to ban gay marriage that day, Wals’ strong speech moved a few representatives.
“I literally watched the faces of some of my Republican friends in the chamber, and I could tell they were torn about how they were going to vote,” Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville told the Daily Iowan.
Even so, on Tuesday the House passed the bill 62-37.