Bartz asserts county recorders have a right to be awake

The Senate Republican staff, on behalf of Senator Merlin Bartz (R-Grafton), just sent out an urgent advisory.  

Senator Bartz Announces Media Avail  
DES MOINES —Senator Merlin Bartz (R-Grafton) will hold a media availability to discuss the Iowa Attorney General’s refusal to defend state law in the Varnum case and refusal to support a conscious clause for county recorders when issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
WHO: Senator Merlin Bartz

WHAT: Media avail regarding conscious clause in Iowa

WHEN: 9:30 a.m.

Conscious, I thought, meant that one is awake.  I believe Senator Bartz means the "conscience clause" as conscience refers to an ability to judge right from wrong.

Many states, including Iowa, have "conscience clauses" which apply to those who work in health care, for example, allowing doctors to refuse to do abortions  An Iowa Attorney General's opinion on that conscience clause concluded it was quite limited and, in an interesting sentence about the dangers of a "slippery slope," said the following:  "One could eventually get to the point where the man who mines the iron ore that goes to make the steel, which is used by a factory to make instruments used in abortions could refuse to work on conscientious grounds."

Or maybe Senator Bartz has joined the Maharishi movement and has some other idea for a "conscious clause."

UPDATE:  This is what Bartz had to say. 

UPDATE II:  Bob Vander Plaats, 2002 Republican gubernatorial candidate/2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate/2006 Republican nominee for lieutenant govenror/likely 2010 Republican candidate for governor, held a news confernce on the subject of an executive order from the current governor on gay marriage.

UPDATE III:  The following comes from Bob Brammer, a spokesman for Attorney General Tom Miller:

County attorneys have discretion about enforcement decisions and priorities.  We have urged them to use that discretion to enforce Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act – and the AG’s Office has made a high priority of enforcing the law — but ultimately that is in a county attorney’s discretion and choice of priorities.

County recorders have no discretion about fulfilling their statutory duties, in this case with respect to granting or denying applications to marry.  We have advised recorders, through the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, that recorders do not have discretion or power to ignore the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, and that they must handle marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the same manner as they handle licenses for opposite-gender applicants.  This is a matter of the rule of law as interpreted and determined by Iowa’s highest Court.


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About O.Kay Henderson

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