Saturday, September 17, 2011

IA State Senator's Resignation Threatens Balance of Iowa Senate/Stability of Gay Families

This is keeping me up more than it should.  Hopefully, I can get this off my chest here and then get a bit more sleep tonight:
Sen. Swati Dandekar, D-Marion, has resigned her seat to accept a $137,000-a-year appointment to the Iowa Utility Board. Dandekar’s resignation could change the balance of power in the Senate where Democrats hold a 26-24 majority. If a Republican would win an as yet-to-be scheduled special election, the Senate would be evenly divided again.

Gov. Terry Branstad announced the appointment Friday, calling Dandekar “uniquely qualified … (having) demonstrated a deep understanding of the utility industry and of the energy issues facing our state.”

“As a scientist with a degree in chemistry, Swati Dandekar will bring both an educational and professional background that will benefit our state’s utility customers as she helps craft a regulatory environment that protects consumers while promoting energy production in Iowa,” Branstad said. She will begin her service immediately...

The impact of a Republican victory in a special election would be far-reaching as it would make it harder for Senate Democrats to block legislation sent over from the Republican-controlled House. That would include social issues such as a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and abortion restrictions. After a 25-25 tie after the 2004 election, the Senate operated with co-presidents, co-majority leaders and co-committee chairs, one Democrat, one Republican.
The special election to fill Dandekar's seat has been scheduled for November 8, 2011.  It's amazing how one resignation can potentially affect the stability of my family.  This is something that heterosexual people don't struggle with.  They might disagree with an opposing political party's stance on tax policy or job creation or whatever, but they don't face the real threat that the very constitutional existence of their own family will be debated and voted on if the wrong political party gains control. 

The GOP leaders in that article are talking about taxes and job growth and small businesses and everything, but the first thing they will do if they gain more power in the State Senate -- the first thing they always do -- will be to attempt legislation focused on harming gay families:
Rallyig (sic) cries also from the other team. "While an evenly split Senate will not give Republicans control of the chamber, it would eliminate Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal’s ability to block legislation from even being debated," writes Craig Robinson. "That means issues that were never allowed to be debated in the senate, like the marriage amendment, various abortion bills, and even tax cuts, could now see the light of day. Gronstal’s heavy-handed ways also will ensure that activists from all across the state will be willing to help the Republican effort to win the seat."
Do I really need to go into the fact that none of the horror stories about gay marriage that always get bandied about have occurred here in Iowa since we gained the ability to get legally married?  No pastors have been arrested.  No church has been forced to officiate at the wedding of a lesbian couple.  No kindergartners have been taught the mechanics of gay sex.  No social conservatives have been drummed out of town.  The biggest change?  Gay families have the protections and responsibilities that come with civil marriage now.  And the GOP wants to take that away from us.  And pretty much "just because".  Heterosexual families won't be more secure with my marriage's dissolution.  My family just won't exist anymore.  But, hey, it helps hets sleep better so it's all worth it, eh?

The Iowa Democratic Party had a website up for a while called, but it seems to be gone now.  I'll keep my eyes out for it and post more information in the future.

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