Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dispatches from the holy war: 03/10/13

Ku Klux Klan members burned crosses in Lucas County and elsewhere across Iowa during the 1920s to make a point; Republicans lawmakers carry on the tradition by introducing anti-gay legislation --- another of those "the more things change the more they remain the same" moments.

So it's been good days symbolically lately in the Legislature for that element --- certainly the majority in rural parts of the state. Lucas County's two state representatives, Joel Fry of Osceola and Greg Heartsill, who lives near Columbia, signed on as co-sponsors to House Joint File 444, introducing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Across the rotunda in the Senate, Wayne County's Amy Sinclair signed on to Senate Joint Resolution 5, with the same purpose.

To add an exclamation point to their position, Fry and Heartsill signed on as co-sponsors of House File 444, which would prohibit county registrars from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as well as strip the Iowa Supreme Court of jurisdiction over those registrars. The latter proposal is clearly unconstitutional, but what the heck.

Because Democrats --- the "gay marriage party" as GOP state chair A.J. Spiker defined us recently --- retain control of the Senate, none of this legislation has much chance of advancing. But that's not the point.


It's interesting to think about Iowa divided along the red/blue line evident nationally in U.S. politics. Largely urban Iowa blue zones, where the best and brightest tend to congregate because of jobs as well as cultural, educational and social opportunities, form the base for Democrats in Iowa. That leaves rural Iowa --- places like Lucas County --- for the rest.

The curious thing about our rural red zones is that we covet blue-zone money and jobs --- but not necessarily blue-zone people (for any length of time at least). So bring your credit cards and come on down, but, uh, if you're gay, black, brown, liberally inclined, any number of things other than who we are, we'd rather you didn't stick around too long. 


CNN has managed to develop a quirky reputation lately in the news-o-sphere --- Bill Maher put it this way: MSNBC is for liberals; Fox, for conservatives; and CNN, for airports --- but CNN Radio did produce an interesting piece recently about a bureaucratic oddity involving Iowa's Department of Health.

Although same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, our Department of Health is alone among similar agencies in other same-sex-marriage states because it declines to recognize both parties in a same-sex marriage as parents of children born to them.  It's called the "Iowa anomaly."

That creates difficulties for same-sex couples, since one of the pair must adopt in Iowa in order to have legal standing when it comes to parenting. You can access that report here.

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