Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mathis Wins IA Senate Special Election; NOM is Eating Sour Grapes

Democratic candidate Liz Mathis won the special election over in Iowa's Senate District 18 last night.  I don't think it's huge news nearly 24 hours later, but given that I've written about the campaign a lot recently, it seemed like a good idea to catch up on this issue.  As a married gay dad here in Iowa, it's great news for me.  Her victory ensures that the Democratic Party maintains a slight lead in the Iowa Senate and keeps the issue of my marriage out of future elections (for now, at least).  Beyond that, it helps moderate the various bills being passed in the state when both parties are forced to meet in the middle.

What's more delicious is the National Organization for Marriage's tepid reaction of Mathis' victory and Republican candidate Cindy Golding's loss.  After pumping somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 into this one elction (not to mention numerous hours of volunteer time stumping for Golding), NOM was largely silent following the election results.  In fact, NOM's blog didn't even acknowledge the loss until mid-afternoon today. 

The one exception to their veil of silence was a tweet from NOM's cultural director, Thomas Peters, who tweeted the following message: "that's what happens when a state GOP nominates a weak candidate."  It's not like Golding was an awful candidate.  I mean, she lost, but still managed to grab 44% of the vote.  I think Golding's biggest crime, from NOM's perspective, was her ongoing effort to distance herself from NOM and The FAMiLY LEADER and other social conservative groups that tried making her candidacy all about defeating gay families.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm glad about the special election results and the fact that efforts to move a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage license through the Iowa legislature will be stalled for another year, but it's going to be an ongoing effort to preserve my marriage.  I predict that Iowans will be debating the potential slippery slope effects of marriage equality for years.  We'll hear hand-wringing fears about pastors being forced into marrying gay couples ten years from now despite the lack of evidence.  The key to this will be promoting good Democratic candidates in both the House and Senate in coming years -- even in the reddest of Republican Iowa districts.  The other side of that is the promotion of fair-minded Republican candidates at the same time.  We won't succeed in maintaining equality if we don't court both sides of the political aisle.  It will take time.  And fortunately Mathis' election win will give us a bit more time.

In related news, I wasn't half as happy about the local Iowa City Council elections last night.  None of my candidates won the election.  I became big fans of candidates Steve Soboroff, Raj Patel, and Jarrett Mitchell.  Unfortunately, not enough of my fellow Iowa Citizens agreed with my choices.

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