Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The FAMiLY Leader Rallies in the Cold -- One Iowa Speak Out for Iowa's Gay Families!

The FAMiLY LEADER is Iowa's official anti-gay family group. It is led by thrice-failed gubernatorial Bob Vander Plaats and has been working to outlaw same-sex marriages in Iowa since they became legal back in 2009. If you were unfortunate enough to be in Des Moines earlier today, you would find yourself witnessing their annual "Life, Marriage & Family Rally" -- although on a perversely fortunate note, this rally took place on the tail end of Iowa's latest deep-freeze!

The purpose of today's rally was to pray with and encourage Iowa's anti-gay legislators and to push them to promote anti-gay and anti-abortion policies.

The FAMiLY LEADER identified two main goals that they will be pushing during the coming year:
* They want Iowa legislators to pull legislation that would allow businesses and individuals to legally discriminate against LGBT people and our families.

* The FAMiLY LEADER also wants legislators to amend our state constitution to ban all recognition of same-sex marriages in Iowa.
It's been nearly five years since marriage equality began in Iowa. There have been a few minor hiccups -- usually involving a literal handful of anti-gay cake-makers -- since same-sex marriage began, but how much longer can Iowa's social conservatives seriously push this meme that Iowa will suffer until gay and lesbian families get struck down??

Fortunately, we have folks like Donna Red Wing of One Iowa speaking out for all of Iowa's families:
Iowa has enjoyed marriage equality for nearly 5 years. While the laws have changed, we recognize that it will take a little longer for the culture to change. Unfortunately, the Family Leader continues to use the LGBT community and our families as a divisive political wedge. I suggest we find a way to work together to find common ground and create the space to have civil dialogue around issues important to us.

While One Iowa recognizes and respects the religious beliefs of all Iowans, it is imperative to separate our appreciation for those beliefs from the Iowa Civil Rights Code. The law states clearly that all public venues and businesses must accommodate individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We hope that the Family Leader and its supporters will recognize that our families are really not that different from their own. We pay our taxes, we take care of our loved ones, we go to worship, and we are contributing members of society. Instead of the hostile posturing that we have seen on both sides of the issue of equality–especially marriage equality–we should broaden our conversations through ongoing civil dialogue about what’s important to all Iowans, and what we can do together to make this great state an even greater one. Will we continue to disagree? Yes. But let us do so from a perspective that respects both religious and individual freedom. As we move into the New Year, and into a fresh political landscape, we extend an invitation to our friends and to our opponents to meet and engage in honest, respectful dialogue.
One Iowa recently announced its own legislative advocacy day. It's called "Day on the Hill" and it's scheduled for Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Participants will participate in a training at the One Iowa office in Des Moines from 8:30 - 10:30 AM, which will be followed by a Legislative Luncheon at the Iowa State Capitol from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.

The 2014 "Day on the Hill" will be a joint effort between One Iowa and Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (CHAIN).

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