Iowa’s Republicans not to reintroduce anti-marriage bills

Timothy Kincaid

November 29th, 2011

The Iowa Senate Majority Leader, Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs), has the power to stop any bills or provisions to amend the state constitution from being brought to the floor of the Senate. And he’s promised to use that power to stop any effort to remove marriage equality from the state.

But that certainly doesn’t have to stop the Republicans in the House of Representatives (where they have a majority) from trying to pressure Gronstal and make him appear to abuse power by bombarding him with bills from the House. And the House Republicans did pass a constitutional amendment bill in the last session.

However, they will not be doing so when the House reconvenes. (Trib)

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he has no plans to revisit volatile social issues like gay marriage and abortion when lawmakers convene Jan. 9. Republicans who control the House approved tough restrictions on abortion and a resolution calling for a statewide vote on banning gay marriage last time around, but the Senate’s Democratic leader blocked debate on both measures.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has indicated he would do the same again, and given that, Paulsen said there’s little incentive to revisit the issues.

It seems hardly worth noting. Just a decision not to waste time. A choice not to grandstand. An option for statesmanship over partisan politics. And, to be sure, any praise due for this decision is of the weakest sort.

However, this is the sort of indicator that we often overlook. And sometimes the little things, the absence of an action tells us more than a headline grabber.

For example, we see that today, in Iowa, the public sentiment just isn’t anti-gay enough to pressure Gronstal. And while they’d happily vote away our rights, the issue isn’t important enough for Republican legislators to waste their own time. And, more importantly, “sending a message” by voting again in this session is being considered a waste of their time.

This little non-action tells us quite a bit, really. It’s an indication that time is on our side, that “the Republican base” just doesn’t have the influence it once had, and that – at least to some extent – anti-gay activism is now a luxury issue.

Christopher Eberz

November 29th, 2011

Poor NOM. Poor, poor NOM.

Bose in St. Peter MN

November 30th, 2011

I would think that Iowa Republicans lawmakers’ self-interest in an election year is also at play here.

They just lost an election in a Republican-leaning district, where NOM outsiders tried to make marriage equality a hot-button issue. Moderate voters seemed to see the anti-gay messaging as divisive and a distraction from core issues. There was palpable concern about turning control of the Iowa Senate over to Republicans.

Despite the Republican party apparatus being radicalized, Iowans as a whole are pragmatic, with a large moderate middle. It’s interesting that Speaker Paulsen appears more concerned about pissing off Independents than rallying the conservative fringe.

Mark F.

November 30th, 2011

There is a disconnect between the number of GOP voters supporting gay rights and gay marriage (a significant minority) and the number of GOP politicians voting pro-gay (just a very few).

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