Democrats’ reaction to gay marriage ruling; Republicans, too

The top Democratic leaders in the legislature have issued a statement.  Read it and you'll conclude they are not going to pass a resolution/set the wheels in motion for a vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  Earlier today, Democrats Chet Culver (the governor) and Tom Harkin (the U.S. senator) issued statements.  (I will reposted Culver and Harkin statements at the bottom of this post.)

This is a joint statement from Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy on today’s Supreme Court decision:

“Thanks to today’s decision, Iowa continues to be a leader in guaranteeing all of our citizens’ equal rights. 

“The court has ruled today that when two Iowans promise to share their lives together, state law will respect that commitment, regardless of whether the couple is gay or straight. 

“When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long.  It is a tough question to answer because treating everyone fairly is really a matter of Iowa common sense and Iowa common decency.

“Today, the Iowa Supreme Court has reaffirmed those Iowa values by ruling that gay and lesbian Iowans have all the same rights and responsibilities of citizenship as any other Iowan.

“Iowa has always been a leader in the area of civil rights.

“In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided the issue.

“In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated “separate but equal” schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

“In 1873, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in public accommodations, 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

“In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law.

“In the case of recognizing loving relationships between two adults, the Iowa Supreme Court is once again taking a leadership position on civil rights. 

“Today, we congratulate the thousands of Iowans who now can express their love for each other and have it recognized by our laws.”

EARLIER STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR CHET CULVER: "The decision released this morning by Supreme Court addresses a complicated and emotional issue, one on which Iowans have strong views and opinions on both sides. The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the Attorney General, before reacting to what it means for Iowa.”

EARLIER STATEMENT FROM SENATOR TOM HARKIN: "My personal view has been that marriage is between a man and a woman, and I have voted in support of that concept.  But I also fundamentally believe that same sex couples in a civil union should be entitled to all the basic legal protections and benefits of marriage.  The Court found that it is necessary to afford same sex couples the ability to marry in order to allow them those legal protections and benefits.  I will respect and support that decision and I hope that other Iowans can do the same.  I know that this decision will be very hard for many to accept but I also know that it will provide many committed same sex couples and families important rights, as well as an important sense of recognition and belonging.”

UPDATE II: Senate Republican Leader issued the following statement.

DES MOINES, IA – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) issued the following statement this morning in response to the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage in Iowa:

“The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels. I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state. Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a Constitutional Amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people.”

UPDATE III:  House Republican Leader issued a statement.

(DES MOINES)–House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued a statement on the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage:

"I believe marriage is between one man and one woman and am disappointed in the ruling of the Supreme Court. In 1998, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation protecting marriage as between a man and a woman. There is now a divide between the legislative and judicial branches and Iowans should be permitted to weigh in and have the final say on this question."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Joseph M. Beagan says

    Considering the fact that one in two heterosexual marriages ends in a divorce I am led to wonder just who is doing the protecting of matrimony. Whoever it is is failing.
    This mindset is not one where people really care about marriage, but about keeping a minority of the population in fear and subjugation. This group who fears that they are losing control of their own lives and those of others.
    The paradigm of marriage as heterosexual has its roots in religion and that has no place in governance.
    Iowa apparently has the common sense to recognize this.