Gronstal delivers message to county recorders, Bartz

Earlier this week, Senator Merlin Bartz (R-Grafton) tried to give Iowa's 99 county recorders the right to refuse — "as a matter conscience" — to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,  Here's the April 14, 2009 post with the background.

That day, I asked the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) for Gronstal's reaction to the proposal.  This morning, three days later, Gronstal issued a statement, in the form of a one-minute-and-seven-second-long mp3.  Read the text of Gronstal's remarks below. (UPDATE:  I listened to the audio and edited the punctuation in the statement provided earlier by Senate Democratic Caucus Staff.)

“Well, here’s the crazy part of it. For example, what if a county recorder is morally opposed to mixed race marriages?  You know it used to be illegal under Iowa law for mixed race marriages.  Well what if you were a county recorder at that time?  Does Senator Bartz think they should be able to say 'no' to a mixed race couple?

“What about divorced Iowans?  Some religions believe marriage should be one man, one woman, one time.  And under the Bartz approach, your county recorder would be able to say, 'No, I’m a Catholic and you don’t get to have a second marriage. You had your one.'

“Under the Bartz approach if your county recorder didn’t think Catholics should marry Baptists, that would be the law in your county.  That’s just so wrong.

“In Iowa, everyone is equal under the law. County recorders don’t get to decide for themselves which laws they will follow and which they won’t.

“I hope Senator Bartz has learned that playing politics is a very, very bad way to go about making legislation."

UPDATE:  Bartz response.

DES MOINES— Senator Merlin Bartz (R-Grafton) responded today to statements made by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) about playing politics with the issue of gay marriage in Iowa:

"I agree with Senator Gronstal, we should take the politics out of this issue and let the people of Iowa vote on a constitutional amendment that defines traditional marriage and I invite him to allow that vote on Monday." 

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About O.Kay Henderson

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