Thursday, January 05, 2012

Dispatches from the holy wars: 1/5

Washington Gov. Chris Gregorie will back same-sex marriage legislation in her state.

The air seems lighter and perhaps the sun will shine a little brighter today as the various political entourages complete their moves elsewhere.

All Iowans can be thankful for the cash they left behind. It's not clear exactly how much that will turn out to be, but BuzzFeed Politics totaled up media spending and estimated the take in that category at $15.6 million --- $6.15 million from the Perry Camp; $4.2 million, Romney; $2.7 million, Paul; $1.3 million, Gingrich; $111,000, Santorum; and $24,000, Bachmann.

If nothing else, Santorum certainly got more bang for his buck than any of the other candidates.

Somewhat more than 400 Republicans turned out to caucus in Lucas County I've heard, giving 30 percent to Santorum, 24 percent to Perry and 20 percent to Romney. The fondness for Perry was a local peculiarity, of course, but it always warms my heart when GOPers fall into line behind a candidate who is totally unqualified and can't possibly win a national election. Wonderful!

And the close finish between Romney, Santorum and Paul means Republicans will continue to rip each other's guts out politically for a long time to come, something else guaranteed to warm the heart of a Democrat. Who could ask for anything more? Onward Christian soldiers!


Just in time for the new legislative session, Polk County District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom Wednesday ordered the Iowa Department of Health to issue a new birth certificate listing two mothers as parents of their 2-year-old daughter.

The plaintiffs in the case were Melissa and Heather Gartner, who first filed suit during 2009, arguing that since they were married under Iowa law both also had the right to be listed as parents on their daughter's birth certificate (Heather Gartner conceived using donated sperm). The state had argued that Melissa Garner would have to adopt the child, since she was not a "husband."

Judge Ovrom ruled that the legality of same-sex marriage in Iowa carries with it the right of both parties in a  marriage to be recognized from the start as parents --- not just the birth mother.

Which seems only fair, since a heterosexual woman equipped with a husband who shoots blanks and therefore is forced to rely on donated sperm would have no problem under current DHS rules obtaining parentlal recognition for her sterile spouse.

This, of course, will distress Republicans, and most likely will become a legislative issue.


Out west, the governor of Washington, Chris Gregorie, announced her support Wednesday for legislation that could make her state the seventh to fully recognize same-sex marriage. Washington already has strong domestic partner legislation.

Although there are no guarantees the legislation will pass, if it does Washington would join Iowa, New York, Massachusetts, Connecituct, Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia.


One of my favorite stories of the week involves the resignation of Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, after the revelation that he has a secret family that includes two teen-age children.

The archdiocese, which paid out $660 million in 2007 as compensation for clergy sexual abuse dating back to the 1940s, also has reached out to aid financially and "spiritually" the rogue priest's family --- having finally located a priest who is demonstrably heterosexual.

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