- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Gay marriage likely here to stay in Iowa
Question of the Day
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Same-sex marriage might be here to stay in Iowa.
Iowa voters decided Tuesday to retain a state Supreme Court justice who participated in the landmark 2009 ruling that made Iowa the first Midwestern state to allow gay marriage, trumping a conservative campaign to oust him. And they rejected the Republican Party’s bid to take control of the IowaSenate, where conservatives hoped to pass a constitutional amendment asking voters to limit marriage rights to unions between one man and one woman.
Instead, Iowans re-elected Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs, who has blocked debate of that amendment for three years. He repeatedly has said he would not allow debate on a measure that would enshrine discrimination in the Iowa Constitution, a stand that put his 30-year career on the line.
Republicans and social conservatives targeted Mr. Gronstal in the hopes of removing that roadblock on Tuesday, but he easily won re-election with 55 percent of the vote. And Mr. Gronstal announced early Wednesday that he believed Democrats would keep their slim majority in the IowaSenate, picking up the 26 seats they need to continue running the chamber.
All told, Tuesday fortified Iowa’s status as one of the earliest states to adopt gay marriage — one where the right to wed for gays and lesbians is not likely to end soon.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we have turned a corner on this issue,” said Molly Tafoya, spokeswoman for One Iowa, the state’s leading gay rights group. She said opponents of gay marriage would be unlikely to block the practice in the near future — but she stopped short of declaring it safe.
“Our opponents are well-funded, likely very, very mad today, and I imagine that they are going to dust themselves off and take a look at where they can try to influence this issue,” she said.
Greg Baker, political director for the Family Leader, a group that led unsuccessful campaigns to remove Justice David Wiggins and elect a Republican Senate majority, conceded that attempts to ban gay marriage were likely dead for the next two years. A constitutional amendment takes passage in two consecutive legislative sessions, and then approval from voters in a statewide referendum.
Mr. Baker said critics of gay marriage would spend the next year regrouping, energizing the opposition through churches and trying to bring younger voters to their cause. The best prospect at this point, he said, would be for the GOP to take control of the Iowa Legislature in the 2014 midterm elections.
“We most certainly have an uphill battle in front of us, but I don’t think the marriage issue is done in Iowa yet,” he said.
A handful of Republican Senate candidates who were opposed to gay marriage and received backing from the Family Leader lost their races. They included Sen. Merlin Bartz of Grafton and Matt Reisetter of Cedar Falls, whose Democratic rivals received backing from gay rights groups and donors.
While votes in the Senate will have a practical impact, the vote on Justice Wiggins was the clearest symbol of the state’s changing attitude toward gay rights. He was one of seven justices who joined the unanimous 2009 ruling that found that Iowa’s ban on gay marriage violated the state constitution’s equal-protection clause, ordering county clerks to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
After a backlash, Iowa voters in 2010 removed three of Justice Wiggins‘ colleagues from the bench when they stood for retention, an unprecedented repudiation. But on Tuesday, more than 54 percent of voters decided Judge Wiggins should keep his job — about 10 percentage points higher approval than his colleagues in 2010.
“I want to thank the people of Iowa who preserved the fairness and impartiality of Iowa’s courts and agree that equal means equal,” Judge Wiggins said Wednesday.
The jurist racked up huge margins of victory in the counties with Iowa’s three public universities, including Johnson County, where he won more than 70 percent of the vote, Story County and Black Hawk County. Two large eastern Iowa counties that are filled with swing voters — Linn and Scott — also heavily favored Judge Wiggins‘ retention.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Chris Matthews: GOP less patriotic than South African white apartheid leaders
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!