One simple question, three non-answers on Iowa gay marriage

Everyone who moderates a debate this year could learn from the journalists who guided the May 1 Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidates' debate: Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Paul Yeager of Iowa Public Television, and Jeneane Beck of Iowa Public Radio. Too many journalists ask long-winded questions that are easy to evade, or ask about hot topics of no lasting importance, or ask about policies outside the scope of the office the candidates are seeking. In contrast, almost every question the panelists asked during Saturday's debate was direct and addressed an issue the next governor of Iowa will face.

Mind you, asking an unambiguous question doesn't guarantee that you'll get a straight answer from a politician. Look what happened when Dorman asked the Republicans, "Can you identify one tangible way Iowa has been harmed during a full year of legal same-sex marriage?"

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One simple question, three non-answers on Iowa gay marriage

Everyone who moderates a debate this year could learn from the journalists who guided the May 1 Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidates' debate: Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Paul Yeager of Iowa Public Television, and Jeneane Beck of Iowa Public Radio. Too many journalists ask long-winded questions that are easy to evade, or ask about hot topics of no lasting importance, or ask about policies outside the scope of the office the candidates are seeking. In contrast, almost every question the panelists asked during Saturday's debate was direct and addressed an issue the next governor of Iowa will face.

Mind you, asking an unambiguous question doesn't guarantee that you'll get a straight answer from a politician. Look what happened when Dorman asked the Republicans, "Can you identify one tangible way Iowa has been harmed during a full year of legal same-sex marriage?"

There's more...

Iowa marriage equality anniversary thread

One year ago today, the Iowa Supreme Court's Varnum v Brien ruling went into effect. From April 27, 2009 through the end of last year, at least 1,783 same-sex couples received marriage licenses in Iowa. The real number is probably higher, because about 900 marriage licenses did not specify the gender of the couple involved. Despite a petition drive led by some Iowa Republicans and the Iowa Family Policy Center, not a single county recorder denied a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Although all three Republican candidates for governor say they want to overturn the Varnum v Brien ruling, marriage equality is probably here to stay. Conservative groups are not urging voters to pass a ballot initiative calling for a constitutional convention, which would be the quickest path to amend the Iowa constitution. Bob Vander Plaats probably won't win the Republican nomination for governor, much less the November election, and even if he did, his plan to halt gay marriage by executive order is a non-starter.

That leaves the self-styled defenders of traditional marriage one path: approving an amendment restricting marriage rights in two separately elected Iowa legislatures, then convincing a majority of Iowans to vote for that amendment (in November 2014 at the earliest).

Republicans have an outside shot at winning a majority in the Iowa House in 2010, but they have virtually no chance of taking back the Iowa Senate this year. Democrats currently hold a 32-18 majority in the upper chamber. A net gain of four or five seats is the best-case scenario for the GOP, and I consider a net gain of two or three seats much more likely. That leaves Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal in a position to block all efforts to bring a constitutional amendment on marriage to a floor vote during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions.

Gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts claims he could force Democrats to allow a marriage vote. His plan is to veto all legislation, including the state budget, until the Iowa House and Senate have voted on a marriage amendment. I doubt a Republican could win that game of chicken even if Governor Chet Culver is defeated this November. Polling indicates that most Iowans are not eager to ban gay marriage and think the state legislature has more important things to do. Anyway, the most likely Republican nominee, Terry Branstad, has an incoherent position on gay marriage and probably would make only a token effort to get a constitutional amendment passed.

Share any thoughts about same-sex marriage in Iowa in this thread.

Speaking of civil rights, some reports indicate that the House of Representatives will vote this year to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has ended far too many military careers. Click here to read a moving open letter to President Obama from an Air Force major who was discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Fact-Checking Michele Bachmann: Bring On The Crazy!

 

I believe that now it is time to fact-check the budding Minnesotan rogue, seeing as how every day she is becoming more starstruck and more consumed by her little fame.

"If her same-sex marriage ban amendment does not pass in 2004: “The sex curriculum will be essentially by taught by the local gay community."

Yes, the woman is batshit crazy.  Lets move on (anyone else find it interesting that her family owns a mental healthcare practice?)  

I checked up on her Politifact.com file and found some not very surprising information.

Ezekiel Emanuel, one of President Obama's key health care advisers, "says medical care should be reserved for the nondisabled. So watch out if you're disabled."

What's the verdict on this one?  Well, it gets a big "Sarah Palin you betcha! FALSE"

According to Kenneth Baer, Emanuel was exploring different views of political theory as they apply to health care decisions and following one school of thought through to the point where he notes that it would lead to "potentially disturbing types of policy ramifications

You can read the Bachmann file for more infor if you so desire, onto the next one!

ACORN will be a paid partner with the Census Bureau and "they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public."

Classic Bachmann.  Blame ACORN.  Trash the Census Bureau.  Fear for the American People.  What else makes it classic Bachmann?  The fact that it is FALSE!

According to politifact reports: 
Partners agree "to promote the 2010 Census among their constituents." As a partner, ACORN has agreed to spread the word among its people about the availability of temporary Census jobs. The U.S. Census Bureau expects to hire 1.4 million people through the course of the 2010 census, the bulk of them to do the door-to-door questionnaires, so the bureau casts a wide net to get applicants, including through its partners. Partners don't get paid, but they presumably benefit by getting the word out to members about jobs, and also by providing a public service emphasizing the importance of filling out the Census.

ACORN and others PROMOTE the temporary Census jobs, but in no way are involved with the hiring.  Bachmann, one again, lets her pseudo-patriotism overencumber the facts.

I want to throw in just one more for now, for good measure

In the 1970s, "the swine flu broke out . . . under another Democrat, President Jimmy Carter."

In a last ditch effort, Bachmann tried to blame swine flu on the democrats.  Of course, the Democrats in Congress and the White House have ultimate control over the viral and bacterial disease flow in the environment and all around the United States (its written in the Constitution.. duh!) so naturally it was the peanut farmer's fault.

Actually, the swine flu surfaced during the Ford administration, and even briefly during the Reagan years.   
Reported by politifact, the scare began in February 1976 when recruits at Fort Dix, N.J., came down with flu symptoms, and one died. This led to fears of a pandemic. The president in 1976 was Gerald Ford — a Republican

Rep. Bachmann, your reputation no doubt shows that you are just another shining star for the right-wing's repertoire.  The lack of facts is nothing new, therefore I don't expect you to change.

 

Iowa marriage equality anniversary thread

One year ago today, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that our state's Defense of Marriage Act violated the equal protection provision of the Iowa Constitution. From the day that ruling went into effect through the end of 2009, at least 1,783 same-sex couples received marriage licenses in Iowa. The real number is probably higher, because about 900 marriage licenses did not specify the gender of the couple involved.

Follow me after the jump for a review of news about marriage equality in Iowa, stories featuring happy couples, and thoughts about the future politics of this issue.

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