Gay Marriage | Iowa | Mike Gronstal | News

Iowa Senator Gronstal Vows to Block Vote on Marriage Amendment


The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa senate Democrat Mike Gronstal has vowed to block any vote on an amendment to the state's constitution that would ban same-sex marriage:

Republicans will occupy the governor's office and will control the Iowa House next year, and there's a chance that final results could give Republicans a 25-25 deadlock in the Iowa Senate.

But Senate Democrats will maintain at least equal power — which will give Majority Leader Mike Gronstal authority to prevent a vote on a marriage amendment to the state constitution.

"There's no mechanism whereby senators, even a majority of senators, can override the majority leader," according to Secretary of the Senate Mike Marshall, a staffer who ensures rules are followed.

Senate Republicans intend to try various maneuvers to force a vote, even though they don't believe such efforts will succeed. Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, hopes public pressure might eventually compel Gronstal to allow a vote, but Gronstal said Wednesday that will never happen.


Gronstal believes the right thing means protecting the civil rights of gays and lesbians. He reaffirmed Wednesday that he won't bow to pressure, no matter how nasty it gets.

"The easy political thing for me to do years ago would have been to say, 'Oh, let's let this thing go. It's just too political and too messy,' " Gronstal said. "What's ugly is giving up what you believe in, that everybody has the same rights. Giving up on that? That's ugly."

In April, Gronstal gave a beautiful speech on the topic. Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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    Posted by: Wes | Nov 4, 2010 11:27:36 AM

  2. I thought the voters were delivering a strong message about jobs???

    And legislators give us... more of the same.

    Guess what? If you have no income, you can't pay the mortgage- whether I can get married or not.

    Posted by: pete | Nov 4, 2010 11:32:17 AM

  3. Then he won't have anything to block will he Pete. Because your right wing boot licking republics will be busy creating jobs and not persecuting Gays for daring to love one another enough to marry each other.

    Right Pete.

    Posted by: ELI | Nov 4, 2010 12:01:52 PM

  4. So fantastic. Now we just need to make sure that marriage equality will be intact in New Hampshire...

    Posted by: Tyler | Nov 4, 2010 12:13:41 PM

  5. This is why, even in the face of a GOP takeover, every Dem in office can be critical.

    Posted by: Jeff E | Nov 4, 2010 12:22:34 PM

  6. Now that's what I'm talking about.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Nov 4, 2010 1:00:25 PM

  7. @Pete, part of owning a home and financial security is marriage. Countless studies have proven that married couples are more likely to be well off financially and in better health. So by blocking the republicans attempt at mandating morality he is promoting stability.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 4, 2010 1:06:23 PM

  8. I think Pete's point is that Republicans claimed to be running on jobs but are now going to use their newfound power to roll back progress on civil rights.

    Posted by: bklynbryan | Nov 4, 2010 1:10:02 PM

  9. @bklynbryan

    I got the same thing you did.

    Anyway - I wish democrats in power would have big balls like Mike Gronstal. There's too many pussies right now in the democratic party.

    Posted by: A | Nov 4, 2010 1:33:44 PM

  10. Yeah, Pete's statement was to the republicans, not us. In other words "My marriage situation has no impact on whether you can pay your bills."

    Posted by: LiamB | Nov 4, 2010 1:36:53 PM

  11. Bless you, sir. Sending a written thank you letter now.

    Too bad so few elected officials act in anything but their own self-interest...

    Posted by: ichabod | Nov 4, 2010 1:43:35 PM

  12. I'm confused. In a 25-25 Senate, how is there a "majority leader"?

    In the US Senate, such a tie would be broken by the VP. I thought in Iowa, the Governor filled this role (since 1991) and therefore the "majority" in a 25-25 Senate would go to the Republicans...

    Tell me I'm wrong...

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 4, 2010 2:16:48 PM

  13. To Ichabod,

    I am following your lead and urging others to do so as well. I'm sure Senator Gronstal has received piles of hate mail since the spring and I definitely want to thank him for his role as an ally. I also just contributed to his campaign. Although his website refers to the 2008 campaign, I'm sure it isn't too early to donate and help fight for his next re-election and I hope other Towleroad readers will do the same. There are so few straight politicians willing to stand up, I hope we as a community can keep them elected and fighting for our rights. His website is:

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 4, 2010 2:31:20 PM

  14. Next time I hear a gay voter whine that Democrats aren't much better than Republicans and how the Dems really don't deserve our support, I'll point to this example. If we had just a few more Dems in the Iowa legislator, this wonderful man wouldn't have to risk so much for us. Thank you Senator!!

    Posted by: Rob | Nov 4, 2010 2:49:48 PM

  15. @Randy...the full article says that in the case of a deadlock, basically leaders of BOTH sides have to approve legislation. That still gives Gronstal the power to block it.

    It's hanging by a thread in Iowa. The longer Gronstal can hold out, the better, but I'm not even sure how much longer that is. I'm guessing by 2012 we'll probably see the amendment initiated in the Iowa legislature, which I guess could bring it up by 2014? Not sure about the timeline. But at that time, the Iowa masses could rescind a 5-year old marriage equality court ruling. That'd make Prop 8 look like nothing.

    Gronstal is an absolute hero to the gay community. He's the only one that's really stood in the way of the bigots taking away civil rights in Iowa sooner than later.

    Posted by: Bruno | Nov 4, 2010 4:20:34 PM

  16. I e-mailed Mr Gronstal earlier today thanking him for his convictions. His daughters have a wonderful father and his wife has a terrific husband. Mr Gronstal is the one bright spot in the scary state of Iowa.

    Posted by: mad1026 | Nov 4, 2010 5:32:57 PM

  17. I have never been prouder of my Iowa roots than the moment I heard Senator Gronstal's comments.

    Posted by: Creative1 | Nov 5, 2010 12:07:52 AM

  18. If you want to support the below petition, please go to the address and sign the petition:

    "Don't ask. Don't tell"

    President Obama, elected members of Congress, appointed judges of the Supreme Court and governors, we are a God fearing country. We ask you to honor God in your future decisions and to lead the charge that will allow us to honor God through military service and in our daily lives. Just maybe, God will hear from Heaven and heal our land.

    Several groups have chosen to use the Black experience and struggle for civil rights as justification for their support to gay and lesbian groups in their fight for gay rights. A nationally recognized religious leader said something to the effect that he could not deny gay rights because of his experience in fighting for civil rights. The battles for civil rights and gay rights are not synonymous. America’s experience with slavery and its people struggle for civil rights weren’t new occurrences.

    In the book of Genesis, Joseph’s brothers sold him to merchants who later sold Joseph into slavery. God's chosen people served as slaves in Egypt prior to God delivering them out of slavery in the book of Exodus. In the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles God sent his chosen people into exile because of disobedience to him. They often served as slaves.

    Those serving as slaves and remaining obedient to God prospered. Joseph rose to the second highest-ranking position in Egypt. The prophet Daniel served as a slave under three kings. The King made Daniel ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men (Daniel 2:48). Queen Esther fought and won equal rights for Jews to exist. In retrospect, although our nation’s experience with slavery was more recent and several scares remain, it was not a new and isolated occurrence.

    Twisting gay right into civil rights is a more recent strategy used by gay and lesbian supporters. However, God did not approve of a man sleeping with a man as he would a woman. The Bible says such a practice is detestable (Leviticus 18:22). We should refer to the Bible and recognize the consequence of allowing organized efforts to desensitize us into accepting alternate lifestyles. "The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men" (Psalm 12:8).

    We, as Americans, choose not to continue to appease an organized and more vocal small segment of the population at the expense of America losing favor with God. The average American is God fearing and does not favor gays serving openly in the military. Silence has been our problem as gays are seeking to do what is right in their eyes and want us to accept it. They have misled us to believe their struggle for gay rights and repealing “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” is a fight for their civil rights.

    Americans are motivated by love for God and for their neighbors. God loves all people, as we all should. However, God wants us to be obedient to him as we honor his Word. Our military leaders should not be deceived to trust in man’s wisdom, warplanes, guns and bombs. As Psalm 20:7 states, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

    Posted by: Roy Ellis | Nov 22, 2010 7:18:23 AM

  19. @ROYELLIS.

    Please sign my petition to bring back stoning of disobedient children.

    Posted by: wimsy | Jan 20, 2011 11:50:59 AM

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