So Iowa journos got their first chance this a.m. to ask our governor for his reaction to last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a core provision of the Defense of Marriage Act. It denied federal rights and benefits to same-sex couples married up all nice an legal in states such a Iowa.
Radio Iowa has the audio. There's a long not-so-audible question on DOMA followed by the governor's answer:
“I guess it depends upon your perspective, and your point of view on those things. And I guess people can make their own judgment on that. We’re going to live with the law and make any adjustments that are necessary. It does have some impacts on people in many different ways. And I would let people make their own judgment on that.”
Another question, and the governor reaffirms his support for putting Iowans' individual rights on the ballot, which the court's ruling would still allow:
“I’ve always felt the people of Iowa should have an opportunity to vote on that issue.”
I know there was some carping about the governor not having any reaction to the ruling for four days. But heck, it also took Chet Culver four days to react to the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court's ruling striking down Iowa's same-sex marriage ban. So maybe this is now a tradition.
What I think is interesting is how the calm, reasonable, matter-of-factness of Branstad's first answer basically undermines answer two. The governor looks upon this decision to expand the rights of same-sex couples and says we will live with it. Make some adjustments. Maybe send out a memo. Perhaps you like it, maybe you don't. But here it is.
And yet, somehow, the governor also thinks that we should also unleash an intense, divisive statewide campaign culminating in a vote that could enshrine discrimination into the state's constitution.
So it's both "meh" and "mayhem?"
This illustrates the big problem for GOP politicians with this issue. On one hand, there are the actual experiences of Iowans since April 2009. Many of us have noticed the joy of couples now able to get hitched and that, oddly enough, the world did not end.
Then there's the rhetoric anti-marriage equality politicians peddle as they agitate for a ban. It fires up the base, brings in some bucks and bears no resemblance to reality.
The defeat of DOMA will ultimately lead to the undoing of every state constitutional amendment that has been passed. Some Republican politicians, like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who believe the Court’s DOMA ruling is a win for federalism aren’t looking down the road to what’s coming.
You can’t have one set of rules for people in 12 states and a different set of rules in the other 38 states. At some point, the Supreme Court will have to rule on what rights married gay couples have in states that prohibit gay marriage. At that point, it is very possible that the Court could recognize a federal “right” to gay marriage.