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Iowa Republicans marching from history on marriage equality

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 13:40:00 PM CST


While more than 80 nationally prominent Republicans have signed on to a brief encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to support marriage equality, Iowa Republican legislators continue to march lockstep behind efforts to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court's Varnum v Brien ruling.
desmoinesdem :: Iowa Republicans marching from history on marriage equality
Today the American Foundation for Equal Rights unveiled a long list of Republicans who signed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the Court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the challenge to California's Proposition 8. Those who signed include two current members of Congress, five former members of Congress, six former governors, and many people who have held senior positions in the government or national Republican campaigns and committees. I've enclosed the whole list at the end of this post, along with other excerpts from the press release. The only Iowan to sign the amicus brief is David Kochel, a former senior adviser to Mitt Romney who "came out" for marriage equality a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Iowa Senate Republicans have again introduced a constitutional amendment to restrict marriage in Iowa to one man and one woman. Eighteen of the 24 GOP senators co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 5: Dennis Guth, Ken Rozenboom, Amy Sinclair, Jake Chapman, Mark Segebart, Jack Whitver, Sandy Greiner, Kent Sorenson, Mark Chelgren, Bill Anderson, Roby Smith, Joni Ernst, Rick Bertrand, Randy Feenstra, David Johnson, Hubert Houser, Jerry Behn, and Nancy Boettger. Six did not co-sponsor the amendment: Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, Brad Zaun, Tim Kapucian, and newly-elected senators Charles Schneider, Mike Breitbach, and Dan Zumbach. However, Guth told the Des Moines Register's William Petroski that "all of them have said they would vote for it if it would come to the floor."

On one level, that's an empty promise, since the marriage amendment won't come to the Senate floor as long as Democrats maintain their majority. On another level, that promise gives these incumbents cover in case anyone ever challenges them from the right in a GOP primary.

Polls consistently show overwhelming support for marriage equality among younger Americans, but none of the Iowa Republican legislators in their 20s or 30s have taken that position. I suspect some of them will be embarrassed someday to have co-sponsored or voted for a marriage amendment.

Few current Iowa lawmakers resort to over-the-top fear-mongering about gay marriage destroying the family. In contrast to Republican reactions immediately after the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, one rarely hears about the need to "protect traditional marriage" anymore. Since Merlin Bartz lost his latest Iowa Senate re-election bid, I don't think any sitting legislators have explicitly called on county recorders to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  

The Iowa GOP's current politically correct language emphasizes support for the right to vote on the definition of marriage. Iowa House Majority Whip Chris Hagenow expressed this view on WHO-TV's "The Insiders" program this Sunday: "Iowa Republicans [...] continue to be in favor of allowing Iowans the right to vote on a marriage amendment." I wish some journalist would ask these cowards what other minority rights they would like to subject to a majority vote. They don't acknowledge that thousands of Iowans would lose fundamental rights if the marriage amendment passed.

Any relevant thoughts are welcome in this thread, especially hunches about the most hypocritical Iowa Republican legislators on this subject. In the Senate, I nominate Charles "this is a difficult issue" Schneider (he doesn't look down on his gay friends and co-workers "as people"), along with Mark Chelgren, because there's no way a legendary RAGBRAI party animal is sincerely offended by gays and lesbians getting married. In the House, I nominate Jake Highfill and Peter Cownie. They's among the youngest members of the GOP caucus, and like Schneider, both represent largely suburban districts. I doubt they care who's allowed to marry each other.

Press release, February 26:

Washington, DC - This week, more than 80 social and political conservatives, moderates, and libertarians from diverse religious, racial, regional, and philosophical backgrounds will file an amicus curiae, or "friend of the Court," brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Plaintiffs challenging California's Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry.  [...] Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8. [...]

Building bi-partisan support has been part of AFER's mission ever since the filing of its federal constitutional challenge to overturn Proposition 8.  AFER assembled a bi-partisan legal team led by Theodore B. Olson, Solicitor General of the United States during the first term of President George W. Bush, and renowned litigator David Boies to demonstrate that Proposition 8 violates the United States Constitution by denying millions of people their fundamental right to marry and their right to equal protection of the laws.
[...]
The challenge to Proposition 8, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was filed on May 22, 2009, in Federal District Court on behalf of two California couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court granted review in Perry to consider whether Proposition 8 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Court will hear oral argument in Perry on March 26, 2013.

While the list of amici continues to grow, the current list includes:
Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Tim Adams, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2005-2007
David D. Aufhauser, General Counsel, Department of Treasury, 2001-2003
Cliff S. Asness, Businessman, Philanthropist, and Author
John B. Bellinger III, Legal Adviser to the Department of State, 2005-2009
Katie Biber, General Counsel, Romney for President, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
Mary Bono Mack, Member of Congress, 1998-2013
William A. Burck, Deputy Staff Secretary, Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to the President, 2005-2009
Alex Castellanos, Republican Media Advisor
Paul Cellucci, Governor of Massachusetts, 1997-2001, and Ambassador to Canada, 2001-2005
Mary Cheney, Director of Vice Presidential Operations, Bush-Cheney 2004
Jim Cicconi, Assistant to the President & Deputy to the Chief of Staff, 1989-1990
James B. Comey, United States Deputy Attorney General, 2003-2005
R. Clarke Cooper, U.S. Alternative Representative, United Nations Security Council, 2007-2009
Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director White House Office of Public Liaison, 2007-2009
Michele Davis, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning, Department of the Treasury, 2006-2009
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, 1981-1984 and 1987-1989
Lew Eisenberg, Finance Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2002-2004
Elizabeth Noyer Feld, Public Affairs Specialist, White House Office of Management and Budget, 1984-1987
David Frum, Special Assistant to the President, 2001-2002
Richard Galen, Communications Director, Speaker's Political Office, 1996-1997
Mark Gerson, Chairman, Gerson Lehrman Group and Author of The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to the Culture Wars and In the Classroom: Dispatches from an Inner-City School that Works
Benjamin Ginsberg, General Counsel, Bush-Cheney 2000 & 2004
Adrian Gray, Director of Strategy, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Richard Grenell, Spokesman, U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations, 2001-2008
Patrick Guerriero, Mayor, Melrose Massachusetts and member of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1993-2001
Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, 2005-2009
Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, 2005-2009
Richard Hanna, Member of Congress, 2011-Present
Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, 2005-2009
Margaret Hoover, Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2005-2006
Michael Huffington, Member of Congress, 1993-1995
Jon Huntsman, Governor of Utah, 2005-2009
David A. Javdan, General Counsel, United States Small Business Administration, 2002-2006
Reuben Jeffery, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, 2007-2009
Greg Jenkins, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Advance, 2003-2004
Coddy Johnson, National Field Director, Bush-Cheney 2004
Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico, 1995-2003
Robert Kabel, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, 1982-1985
Theodore W. Kassinger, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, 2004-2005
Jonathan Kislak, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development, 1989-1991
David Kochel, Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney's Iowa Campaign, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
James Kolbe, Member of Congress, 1985-2007
Jeffrey Kupfer, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy, 2008-2009
Kathryn Lehman, Chief of Staff, House Republican Conference, 2003-2005
Daniel Loeb, Businessman and Philanthropist
Alex Lundry, Director of Data Science, Romney for President, 2012
Greg Mankiw, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
Catherine Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director for Policy & Planning, 2005-2007
Kevin Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2005-2009
David McCormick, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2007-2009
Mark McKinnon, Republican Media Advisor
Bruce P. Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 2001-2003
Connie Morella, Member of Congress, 1987-2003 and U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003-2007
Michael E. Murphy, Republican Political Consultant
Michael Napolitano, White House Office of Political Affairs, 2001-2003
Ana Navarro, National Hispanic Co-Chair for Senator John McCain's Presidential Campaign, 2008
Noam Neusner, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Speechwriting, 2002-2005
Nancy Pfotenhauer, Economist, Presidential Transition Team, 1988 and President's Council on Competitiveness, 1990
J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division), 1973-1977
Michael Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2001-2005
Deborah Pryce, Member of Congress, 1993-2009
John Reagan, New Hampshire State Senator, 2012-Present
Kelley Robertson, Chief of Staff, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member of Congress, 1989-Present
Harvey S. Rosen, Member and Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
Lee Rudofsky, Deputy General Counsel, Romney for President, 2012
Patrick Ruffini, eCampaign Director, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Steve Schmidt, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President, 2004-2006
Ken Spain, Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee, 2009-2010
Robert Steel, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, 2006-2008
David Stockman, Director, Office of Management and Budget, 1981-1985
Jane Swift, Governor of Massachusetts, 2001-2003
Michael E. Toner, Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, 2002-2007
Michael Turk, eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 2004
Mark Wallace, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for UN Management and Reform, 2006-2008
Nicolle Wallace, Assistant to the President and White House Communications Director, 2005-2008
William F. Weld, Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Criminal Division), 1986-1988
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, 1994-2001, and Administrator of the EPA, 2001-2003
Meg Whitman, Republican Nominee for Governor of California, 2010
Robert Wickers, Republican Political Consultant
Dan Zwonitzer, Wyoming State Representative, 2005-present

About the American Foundation for Equal Rights
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), the federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8.  After bringing together bipartisan attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality.
www.afer.org

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