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Iowa House Speaker says gay marriage is not the focus…so far

Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen:

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he has no plans to revisit volatile social issues like gay marriage and abortion when lawmakers convene Jan. 9. Republicans who control the House approved tough restrictions on abortion and a resolution calling for a statewide vote on banning gay marriage last time around, but the Senate‘s Democratic leader blocked debate on both measures.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has indicated he would do the same again, and given that, Paulsen said there’s little incentive to revisit the issues.

“We’re not afraid to address those issues, but we’re also not interested in squandering Iowans’ time,” he said. “We have a job to do and we’re going to do it.”

Gronstal said he also expected to focus on economic issues and avoid drawn-out arguments of social issues.

“Iowans would prefer that we all work on things that would get 100,000 Iowans back to work,” he said. “Kraig and I have talked and he seems to be in agreement that this session is going to be much shorter than last session.”


Paulsen said he’s not interested in spending more time on issues that can’t be resolved. There have been some discussions about gun control issues, but no firm proposals have surfaced, he said.

“Right now, the primary focus of the caucus, make no mistake, is on jobs and the economy,” Paulsen said.

With the session scheduled to end April 17, both leaders said they also want to avoid the kind of gridlock that kept lawmakers in session this year until the end of June. But they conceded that’s always a challenge when each party controls one chamber.

“Some of those issues, particularly the budget issues, are difficult to work through,” Paulsen said.

Of course, we’ve seen this movie before in New Hampshire, where the new Republican majority earlier this year said its primary focus was jobs and the economy and that it had no plans to repeal marriage equality for New Hampshire residents, then moved to do just that until a broad coalition rose up against it and an overwhelming majority opposed doing so in the polls. And next year, they’re planning on doing it again. So we’ll see if Paulsen and his folks stick to their word.


  • 1. Josh  |  November 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Yes, and in MN when the republicans gained a majority in both state houses and they said they would not address the marriage discrimination during the 2011 session. Oops, another lie from them. I hope people come to their senses and stop voting for people who represent the financial interests of the wealthy and corporations, not most Minnesotans.

  • 2. Ronnie  |  November 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Subscribing & sharing……

    – Gays and lesbians in Illinois civil unions will be able to file joint tax returns:


    – Calvin Klein Hosts Launch Of Americans For Marriage Equality Campaign:

    – Partner of Fallen State Trooper Fighting for Benefits:

    "The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri head to court on Wednesday for Kelly Glossip, who's being denied death benefits after his partner of 15 years, a Missouri state trooper, was killed on duty. Cpl. Dennis Engelhard died on Christmas Day 2009 after he was hit by a car as he investigated an accident. While spouses and opposite-sex partners of Missouri state troopers can receive an annuity of 50% of the employee’s salary, Glossip is being denied the benefit. Glossip is raising a teenage son, who Englehard considered a stepson."

    (me) THIS is why the Destruction of Marriage Act (DOMA) & ALL other anti-American, unconstitutional, inhuman anti-marriage, anti-freedom laws NEED to go away…… NOW!!!…EQUALITY NOW!!!!!!!

    – Heartbreak for Lesbian Binational Couple: What's Changed in a Year:

    "In October 2010, Shewired kindly published an article about my partner Inger and me, relating the story of our lives as a binational couple separated due to DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act). Inger is American and I am English. We have an 11-year-old daughter who is also American. So — a year has gone by since that first articla ran, and what has changed?"

    (me) This article really is heartbreaking….. Tangible evidence that the HATEFUL un-American inhuman Destruction of Marriage Act (DOMA) is harming families & hurting people. Anybody who supports that execrable dross law has no soul what-so-ever & a black hole where their heart should be…. just saying……. > ( …Ronnie

  • 3. Bill S.  |  November 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

    What are people's takes on the decision in New York to allow a lawsuit to proceed against the Marriage Equality Act? A New York State Supreme Court justice ruled that a lawsuit claiming that the law violated open meetings laws can go forward and could potentially strike down this law.

    Does this actually have a chance of happening???

  • 4. AnonyGrl  |  November 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Having read the brief, I think it unlikely that it will actually go anywhere. The general consensus I am reading seems to be that the judge in Livingston County (a small, very conservative county) where the case was filed may rule in favor, but it will most certainly be struck down in appeals. The case was filed in Livingston for that very reason, it is likely the only judge in the state that would fall for this nonsense.

    One of the claims is that lobbyists (that being Jason McGuire, the head of NY for Constitutional Freedoms, a misnamed group if ever there was one) did not have access to lawmakers. I can personally attest he did. I, myself was lobbying legislators at the same time, and continued to encounter him in the halls and offices as I went. There is a lot more along the same lines, all of it spurious.

    He has no chance of winning this one, as far as I can see.

  • 5. Gregory in SLC  |  November 30, 2011 at 7:39 am

    appreciate your response anony….hubby was asking me about this and I didn't know what to say

  • 6. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I also lobbied the legislators the February before along with my mother & hundreds more. AnonyGrl was there. & in FACT, anti-gay religious leaders were in Albany a few weeks later lobbying as well. I was also in Albany a few days before the vote and saw that pompous benighted puerile boy (McGuire) parading around those hallways . He had access & saying he didn't on a court bench under oath is a criminal offense. There were several media reports about Equality advocates such as Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie, Hockey player Sean Avery, Actress Cynthia Nixon, Chef Mario Batali & many more meeting with legislators &/or their staff days before the vote. The National Organization for Malevolence even had their own time in Albany to lobby senators days before the vote, unless they are lying that they lobbied & was just there for a photo-op. Can we say perjury charges?

    Furthermore, they had chances to email, mail letters, & call the Senators offices (both district & Albany) just like everybody else did.

    They had MONTHS, nearly 5 (FIVE!!!), to set up meetings with senators etc. etc., so their cry babying is faker then the cheapest quality of faux fur & reeks of desperation…… just saying…. <3…Ronnie

  • 7. AnonyGrl  |  November 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Part 1

    One point McGuire objects to is that the Republican senators all turned their cell phones off when they were in caucus, which is the time when the party gathers before heading to the floor of the Senate, during which they decide on what will actually be brought to the floor, and which has always been a closed meeting. He objects to meetings that were held with Mayor Bloomberg, where McGuire was not invited to speak.

  • 8. AnonyGrl  |  November 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Part 2

    You know what? I object to meetings that McGuire had with any Senators where *I* was not invited to speak. And the answer to that will be "tough luck, sister!"

    Cuomo (through the Attorney General's office) filed a motion to dismiss, mostly because nothing that McGuire is suing about violated any actual LAWS. Nor is there any logical, legal recompense for anything that he is objecting to. The law will not be overturned because a lobbyist didn't get to pester the hell out of a Senator at the lobbyist's convenience 24/7, and there were certainly no monetary damages that can be claimed, nor was anyone defamed in the process (ignored, perhaps, occasionally, but that is not something the courts can fix). That the judge denied the motion to dismiss (and with a rather florid rhetoric at that) indicates rather strongly about how he will rule, but since the law doesn't back any of that up, I am fairly sure that an appeals court will toss the case out, or rule in our favor.

    Either way, I really have no worries about this one.

  • 9. Sheryl_Carver  |  November 30, 2011 at 7:31 am

    The whole GOP obsession with banning marriage equality reminds me of the big push for adding the so-called "Flag Burning" amendment during the late 60's. The conservatives kept the issue & rhetoric in the news constantly. I was pretty naive at the time, but even so it seemed to me that it was like the same tactic rodeo clowns use to keep the angry bull from chasing the cowboy on the ground: wave a red flag to get the bull's attention while the important stuff (from the bull's viewpoint) gets away unnoticed. By keeping the voters focused on such an emotional issue, the important stuff (the Vietnam War & some other issues of equal importance) were to some extent kept out of the light.

    And it worked pretty well for quite some time. I really think that's why the legislators who claim they won't (re-)visit marriage equality before being elected do so afterwards. Clearly, such pre-election claims don't help them get elected by the Religious Right, but the post-election shenanigans can keep the focus off the fact that they're not addressing the important issues that they SHOULD be dealing with. Classic "red flag waving."

  • 10. AnonyGrl  |  November 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    And, perhaps, the "Not going to go there" claims actually HELP them get re-elected, as a higher and higher percentage of the population holds the opinion that they should not go there.

    Then, as you say, post election, red flag waving distracts the bull.

    Politics. What fun, hey?

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