Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gay Marriage Point/Counterpoint at the Iowa Capitol Today

Thrice-failed gubernatorial candidate and anti-gay The FAMiLY Leader president Bob Vander Plaats and New Jersey-based NOM leader Brian Brown led an anti-marriage rally at the Iowa Capital today. They met to urge Iowa Senators to push forward an amendment to our state constitution that would involuntarily annul my marriage, as well as the marriages of other gay and lesbian Iowans.

For 45 minutes, BVP and others argued that gay and lesbian families don't deserve recognition or protection in Iowa. BVP was particularly concerned about the infamous slippery slope:
“If we want marriage equality, let’s just stop for a second. Why stop at same-sex marriage? Why not have polygamy? Why not have a dad marry his son or marry his daughter? If we’re going to have marriage equality, let’s open this puppy up and let’s have marriage equality,” he said. “Otherwise, let’s stick to the way God designed it – one man and one woman, period (except for those times in the Bible when polygamy and incest were permitted).”
Keep in mind that nobody is arguing for incestuous marriages. Almost nobody is seriously arguing for polygamy. But BVP surely loves his boogey-men.

Brian Brown traveled from New Jersey to Iowa to invoke the name of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"We hear that this is about civil rights, and that those of us who oppose the redefinition of marriage are somehow bigots,” Brown said. “And yet, what Dr. Martin Luther King called the most important civil right – the right to vote – these very same folks are trying to deprive us of this right.”
I could be mistaken, but I don't think that Reverend King ever demanded that the citizens vote on the civil rights of other citizens. Senate majority leader Mike Gronstal understands this. Why doesn't Brian Brown?

Meanwhile, another group of marriage equality advocates held a press conference outside the Iowa Capitol and spoke up for all Iowa families:
“The truth needs to be told. Bob Vander Plaats needs to get a real job instead of working on spreading a message of hate and discrimination,” Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines and the Legislature’s only member who publicly acknowledges he is gay, said at the conference.

Calla Rongerude, the interim director of One Iowa, the state’s largest civil rights group focused on gay and lesbian issues, said the heart of the issue shouldn’t be about political theater but rather the families and importance of equal marriage rights.

“These families are so overlooked in political stunts like today,” Rongerude said. “It’s important to remember that these couples are Iowans and we all live by the golden rule. We want to be treated exactly how we should: with fairness and with dignity.”

Other speakers included Matt Mardis-LeCroy, the executive associate minister at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines as well as Danny Homan, state president, Council 61, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Solon resident Melanie Muth and Tammy Steinwandt also spoke. The couple, who have been together for five years, married shortly after the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that struck down a law that prohibited marriage rights for same-sex couples. “We have commitment and love and truth just like every married family,” Steinwandt said.
One group rallied against a smaller group's families and used fear tactics to advocate for those marriages to be wiped out.

Another group rallied in favor of the values of marriage (i.e., commitment, love, truth, dignity, and fairness).

This is how the same-sex marriage debate went down today in Iowa.

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