Iowa Democrats, be ready to react to the news out of California

No, I’m not talking about the “high-priced Los Angeles call girls” surveyed by Playboy Radio, who ranked Chet Culver the fourth most “doable” governor.

I am talking about yesterday’s ruling by the California Supreme Court granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Iowa Republicans know they have their work cut out for them this year and are not in a strong position to retake the Iowa House or Senate.

Conservatives in California are trying to get a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the ballot for November. If the initiative does get on the ballot, this will be a recurring national news story for the next six months.

I would not be surprised to see Republican candidates all over the country seize on this issue to try to direct the voters’ attention away from the many failures of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq.

Even though the California Supreme Court is dominated by Republican appointees, the GOP will cite the gay marriage issue as a reason not to elect Democrats. There will be many news reports about gay couples traveling from around the country to California to be married. I expect that Democratic candidates will be put on the spot about whether Iowa should recognize those marriages, or whether Iowa judges should follow the logic of the California ruling.

If you are running for office in Iowa, be ready to address this issue.

On the plus side, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he respects the court ruling and opposes the ballot initiative. In effect, he has taken himself out as a future Republican presidential candidate (even if Congress were to amend the constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to serve as president).

Meanwhile, the advocacy group One Iowa, which is working to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples in our state, has a petition you can sign if you support their goals and oppose any constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

I’ve put the full text of the petition, along with the rest of the e-mail I got yesterday from One Iowa, after the jump.

Pledge for Iowa Families

Dear [desmoinesdem],

As many of you know by now, today the California Supreme Court issued a historic decision for equality and fairness! In a 4 – 3 decision, the court held that same-sex couples may not be excluded from civil marriage, ruling that there is a “fundamental right” to form a family through marriage. California joins a growing list of governments in the United States that recognizes all families – gay and straight alike – should be afforded equal protections and responsibilities to protect their loved ones from harm.

Today’s victory is a huge step forward for LGBT families – but much work remains. In Iowa, we have a long and proud tradition of equality and fairness for all Iowans. Will you help us continue on that journey?

First, forward this email far and wide. Let your friends, neighbors, and colleagues know about today’s historic victory – and ask them to Pledge their Support for Iowa Families!

Second, consider hosting a house party or a coffee to tell your friends about our journey toward equality and how they can help! Call Matt or Ryan at (515) 288-4019 or email houseparty@oneiowa.org to get a house party toolkit!

Third, donate to One Iowa. Any donation, no matter how big or small, helps us on this journey toward equality and justice for all Iowans.

Celebrate today’s victory – keep this journey going!

One Iowa Team

Sign this petition

Sign this petition :

As an Iowan who believes all people should be treated equally under the law, I urge you to support and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Iowans and their families.

I support equal protections and responsibilities for all couples who wish to express their commitment. I believe those protections are best achieved through civil marriage and recognize that marriage strengthens Iowa communities and protects Iowa families.

I oppose any attempts to amend our state constitution to promote discrimination. The role of the courts should not be circumvented by lawmakers who should be focusing their time on real problems Iowa faces.

I urge my elected officials and fellow citizens to uphold the values of fairness and equality expressed by this pledge.

Sign this Petition!

Instructions:

Sign this petition

Tell-A-Friend:

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

Tell-a-Friend!

What’s At Stake:

All loving, committed couples should have equal protections, responsibilities, and opportunities. The best way to achieve this is through marriage. Denying equal access to critical protections to same-sex couples violates our state’s fundamental guarantee of equality and fairness for all Iowans. All Iowa families should have the same opportunity and equal access to protect their loved ones from harm. These critical protections include the automatic right to hospital visitation and to make health care decisions for each other, as well as the right to designate a surviving spouse as a pension beneficiary, family health insurance coverage and bereavement leave, joint responsibility for each other’s debts, and the right to make burial and funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse.

Campaign Expiration Date:

June 1, 2008

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