Gay Marriage | Iowa | Mike Gronstal | News

IA Sen. Gronstal: 'You Guys Don't Understand. You've Already Lost.'


Here's a good summation of what's going on in Iowa with regard to pushback against the same-sex marriage ruling, and how difficult it's going to be for foes like Chuck Hurley and IA Rep. Steve King to turn back the ruling.

However, the right wing is pushing for a Constitutional Convention. Iowa Governor Chet Culver still has not weighed in.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal put his foot down in debate yesterday afternoon with Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, who accused Gronstal of "pure obstruction" after Gronstal said he "has no intention of taking up" a debate on amending the state's constitution.

Gronstal's response is one of the most beautiful speeches I've heard all year.

Listen to it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Gronstal:

"One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage. They were talking about discussions going on across the country. And my daughter Kate, after listening for about 20 minutes, said to them: 'You guys don't understand. You've already lost. My generation doesn't care.' I think I learned something from my daughter that day, when she said that. And Ive talked with other people about it and that's what I see, Senator McKinley. I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other, and want state law to recognize that. Is that so wrong? I don't think that's so wrong. As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know I've been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other. No, Senator McKinley, I will not co-sponsor a leadership bill with you."

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  1. What is even more beautiful is, he made that speech knowing that it cold be political suicide for him. Yet, he still made it and is taking this stance because it is the right thing to do.

    Posted by: The Realist | Apr 7, 2009 8:20:22 AM

  2. Bravo, Senator! Well said! Hell, I want to give you a hug as well.

    Are you listening President Obama?

    Posted by: ichabod | Apr 7, 2009 8:25:21 AM

  3. Misleading headline... looks like it's his quote, but actually he's quoting his daughter. I truly love that this is posted and am a fan, but the spin is a tad much.

    If Towleroad starts doing what the right does with headline quotes, (i.e. bad context) is it any better?

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 7, 2009 8:27:36 AM

  4. Very moving speech. As cliché as it sounds... truer words have never been spoken.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Apr 7, 2009 8:30:08 AM

  5. Oh Lord... here come the commercials aka "Whsether you like it or not..." - but you know what, he was absolutely correct as was Mayor Newsom! I now truly believe the right wing fanatics that are freaking out about this are more concerned with losing a major fund raising tool rather than caring anything about gays getting married. Once marriage equality goes mainstream the $$$ stop for them and the "gay boogie man" goes away. I'm sure they are actively looking for their next target though...

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 7, 2009 9:00:14 AM

  6. Very moving speach, and it is true! It is only a matter of time. The younger generation, independents, dems and repubs just do not care. They have already lost and the clock is ticking.

    This could very well be political suicide for Gronstal but I suppose that he knows that. However, he did the right thing.

    And one more thing, Johnny, are you serious? Would you have felt better if Gronstal had said nothing or if Andy failed to post his speach. I think you are stretching just a tad.

    Posted by: RB | Apr 7, 2009 9:00:20 AM

  7. This also appeared in my local paper when reporting on the talk on the senate floor: "I have no intention of taking it up,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs. “I’m not going to put discrimination in the state constitution. It’s just a horrible idea.” I might have to sent him flowers.

    I'm just very disappointed by Governor Culver.

    Posted by: Mary from Iowa | Apr 7, 2009 9:17:47 AM

  8. @johnny: Really, you're over-reacting don't you think? This is akin to a politician quoting Lincoln to make a positive point about an issue, and people assuming that what the politician means is he agrees with Lincoln about that point. Which, of course, makes for clunky heading if you tried to point this out without losing the most important part of the speech. The headline wasn't inaccurate. This is exactly what Gronstal said, and the headline would have been accurate even in quotation marks because it's what came out of Gronstal's mouth. Good headline TR.

    Posted by: Jeff In Boston | Apr 7, 2009 9:28:08 AM

  9. decency is yet alive in the heartland.

    JOHNNY, don't be a tool. should ANDY have posted "'You guys don't understand. You've already lost.'"? sheesh!

    Posted by: nic | Apr 7, 2009 9:39:06 AM

  10. This guy gets it in a way so many mealy mouthed Dems don't. And he's not afraid to put it out there - even though he's running for re-election. Here's his email if anyone wants to thank him.

    Posted by: sean | Apr 7, 2009 9:40:29 AM

  11. Great comment, but I wonder if it'll be used as a rallying point for the opposition in the same way as that "marriage is here, whether you like it or not" quote. That played over and over in California, and apparently motivated a lot of opposition.

    Oh well, fuck it. Well said!

    Posted by: Yeek | Apr 7, 2009 10:03:35 AM

  12. Oh that's so beautiful!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 7, 2009 10:08:17 AM

  13. "Rallying point for the oppossition"? They can say whatever they like. We're winning. Rick Warren's lies on Larry King are further proof that we're winning.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 7, 2009 10:10:31 AM

  14. Leave it to the Midwest to produce an elected official with such courage and common sense. Thanks for the addy Sean, I just wrote him to say what I said here.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Apr 7, 2009 10:12:33 AM

  15. This is excellent. It's the type of deliberate, forceful and public standing up to our opponents that we need to see more often on legislative floors across the country. It has a lot in common with the protests and vigils we have seen in recent months, protests often filled with younger supporters who, like Gronstal's daughter, can't believe this is still an issue for people. The key difference in this case is that Sen. Gronstal is actually in a position to help stop discriminatory legislative pushback from moving forward.

    Posted by: Gianpiero | Apr 7, 2009 10:17:44 AM

  16. Senator Gronstal's speech was beautiful. I applaud his taking a stand and doing so with such elegant simplicity.

    And a thank you to Sean in the comments for the Senator's e-mail address. I happily sent the Senator a thank you for his statement.

    Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2009 10:26:40 AM

  17. Senator Gronstal is now on my hero list. It's so great to see somebody be so REASONABLE and yet so blunt with his opposition. He's right, his daughter is right. I'll be sending him an email shortly.

    Posted by: lis | Apr 7, 2009 10:28:32 AM

  18. @Jeff and nic:

    Don't shoot the messenger. A better headline would have been : Sen. Gronstal: "I won't sponsor a leadership bill with you."

    If someone doesn't hit the "jump", they'll never know that his daughter said the original quote.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 7, 2009 11:44:35 AM

  19. I too sent the Senator a letter thanking him for standing up for equality.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Apr 7, 2009 11:51:37 AM

  20. @ Johnny Thats why its called playing the video you TitMouse.Do yourself a favor and shut the fuck up.Jesus Christ Mary and Joseph

    Posted by: Vinnie | Apr 7, 2009 11:52:20 AM

  21. Wow...So simple and yet, spot on. His type (and his daughter's type) of thinking is gradually catching on when the opposition keeps making outrageous and ridiculous claims. I sent him a short note thanking him for his comments.

    Posted by: Tom@NWOH | Apr 7, 2009 11:52:36 AM

  22. To those concerned that the quote could be mis-used by gay marriage opponents in the same manner as the quote from Mayor Newsom: it is a valid point in general. We all should be sensitive to "lording" a victory over our opponents because, as Prop 8 showed, things can change.

    That having been said, Gronstal's daughter's quote is fundamentally different from that of Newsom. Newsom was saying that CA had marriage as the result of the CA Supreme Cout decision whether the opponents liked it or not. Gronstal's daughter, who was speaking prior to the Iowa court ruling, was making the point that the opponents had "already lost" because gradually, due to demographic shifts, a consensus was building in favor of marriage equality. In other words, Gronstal's daughter was embracing democratic change, not rejecting it.

    Posted by: Danny | Apr 7, 2009 11:52:45 AM

  23. It's quite hilarious, this generational thing, you know. Obviously, those old white conservative guys haven't been in a high school recently, had a discussion with ANY high schoolers, nor have they read any articles written by any high schoolers, nor been on Facebook, etc.

    TEENS DON'T CARE. The only ones who do are those raised in fundie households. And when those teens raised in fundie households who are gay/lesbian come out, they make an even more important statement about the ridiculous nature of mythology in our culture.

    The old white conservative guys are a dying breed. They are on the wrong end of history already. The funniest part about it is that they don't even know it.

    We're becoming post-Christian - just like Europe already has done - and the old white conservative guys haven't a single clue.


    Posted by: Mark Smith | Apr 7, 2009 12:34:54 PM

  24. BTW a constitutional convention could theoretically push the vote up one year to 2011.

    Posted by: Bruno | Apr 7, 2009 2:10:05 PM

  25. Yes, Sen. Gronstal has taken a risk by standing so firmly in favor of equality, but I suspect his constituents will back him up. His plain-spoken decency is genuine and he's shown political courage by taking a potentially career-ending stand on a controversial issue. I doubt that, in the end, Sen. Gronstal will be hurt by this. In fact, I'd wager he will gain even more well-deserved recognition and respect his courageous leadership.

    Posted by: Smartypants | Apr 7, 2009 3:13:51 PM

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