Terry Branstad Hub

Gay Commissioner Files $1 Million Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Against Governor Terry Branstad: VIDEO


Iowa's Workers Conpensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey has filed a lawsuit against Governor Terry Branstad (below) saying that the governor asked him to resign twice and cut his pay by half when he refused, because he's gay, the Des Moines Register reports:

BranstadIowa’s workers’ compensation commissioner today filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging defamation, harassment, sexual discrimination and extortion after Gov. Terry Branstad cut his pay by almost $36,000 last year.

A claim from commissioner Chris Godfrey asks for $1 million in compensation, a common line-item request in such litigation, said his attorney, Roxanne Conlin.

The governor’s office issued a statement this afternoon saying Branstad did not discriminate against Godfrey in any way. The statement said Branstad previously had asked Godfrey to step down because of his performance as the workers’ compensation commissioner, “where he oversaw an increase in workers’ comp insurance, forcing additional costs onto Iowa businesses.”

Godfrey says he won't be bullied:

“For those people that are going to be bullied by this governor or by someone else, I can lead by example and say, ‘It’s OK to stand up to someone, even someone as strong as the governor of the state of Iowa,’” Godfrey said. “I can stand up to that bully, and it’s going to be OK.”

Watch WHO-TV's report on the lawsuit, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Same-Sex Marriage in Iowa Threatened by Governor's Appointment

Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad (pictured) has threatened the state's Democratic majority in the Senate by appointing Sen. Swati Dandekar to the Iowa Utilities Board, the Des Moines Register reports:

Branstad The special election to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Swati Dandekar of Marion is in a district that has more Republican registered voters than Democrats.

If Republicans win, the 50-seat Senate in 2012 will be evenly split.

That would give the GOP a far better chance to push ahead on a handful of issues that have been blocked in the Senate such as a proposal to amend the state constitution and eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples, members of both parties agreed.

The special election is set for November 8.

The paper adds:

Just hours after the news broke, Democrats launched a website: KeepTheMajority.com.

“This election will be a clear choice between what voters in the district want: someone who will stand up and support them in the Iowa Senate, or someone who will pursue a divisive agenda like Iowa Republicans chose to during the last session,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said. “We’re confident that Iowans will vote for real leadership and choose to maintain Democratic control of this seat.”

In the past, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block any attempts to bring up an anti-gay amendment. Without a majority, he'll have a much harder time doing that. No doubt The Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats is licking his chops.

Iowa Governor: No Link Between Recent Fatal Anti-Gay Attack and Tenor of State's Debate Over Gay Marriage

Prompted by questioning from a reporter, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad commented on the recent murder of Waterloo, Iowa teen Marcellus Andrews, who was beaten to death by a group of people who preceded their attack with anti-gay slurs.

Andrews The Des Moines Register reports:

“I think it’s in appropriate to try to link these two,” Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said during his weekly press conference at the Capitol...

...Branstad answered: “The fact of the matter is, we need to protect the health, safety and well-being of all the citizens, regardless – if somebody is murdered, it needs to be investigated and prosecuted and people held responsible for it.

“But I see no link whatsoever and I think it’s inappropriate to try to blame people that are not associated with having committed a crime. I think we need to focus on the people who committed the crime and they need to be brought to justice.”

David Pakman, of Midweek Politics, aired a segment last week on Waterloo's connection to Michele Bachmann, and her reticence to address the issue of gay teen suicide.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Iowa Governor Won't Comment on Reach of Gay Marriage Ban as House Prepares for Public Hearing

The Iowa House is holding a hearing on a proposed ban on same-sex marriage this event, and Iowa governor Terry Branstad won't say if he thinks the ban, which he believes voters should get a chance to weigh in on, goes too far in also banning civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The Iowa Independent reports: Branstad

“I think the people of Iowa would appreciate and feel strongly that they should be given the opportunity to vote,” Branstad said in a news conference with Statehouse reporters in response to a question from The Iowa Independent. He said whether the proposal goes too far is a matter for the legislature to sort out and not an issue that falls under the purview of the governor.

“That’s a legislative issue,” Branstad said. “What the people of Iowa want is an opportunity to vote on marriage defined as one man and one woman.”

Monday night’s two-hour hearing on House Joint Resolution 6 begins at 6:30 in the Iowa House chambers. Dozens of Iowans are scheduled to speak for and against the proposed amendment, which would have to pass both the House and the Senate in two consecutive general assemblies before going to a public vote. The proposed resolution faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, has vowed to block it.

Says Joint Resolution 6: “Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Iowa Governor-Elect Terry Branstad: Don't Impeach Judges for Gay Marriage Decision

GOP Iowa Governor-Elect Terry Branstad tells the Cedar Rapids Gazette that the unanimous 2009 decision by the state Supreme Court which legalized same-sex marriage is not a reason to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Branstad Said Branstad: "I don’t think that impeachment is the appropriate remedy."

Branstad said that an "appropriate" remedy would be to vote them out when they are up for retention.

Three of the seven judges were unseated in November following a successful campaign, driven by religious right-wing groups and legislative conservatives. Since then, those same groups, along with GOP lawmakers, have been plotting ways to remove the remaining four judges, including ridiculous calls for them to resign.

The Gazette reports (via tpm):

In a wide-ranging interview, Branstad said he disagreed with the court’s marriage ruling but he also disagrees with a band of House Republicans who have indicated they are drafting articles of impeachment against Justices Brent Appel, Mark Cady, Daryl Hecht and David Wiggins. Three other members of court – Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit — ended their terms Dec. 31 after they lost their retention votes in the Nov. 2 general election.

The incoming governor said he believes the unanimous court “over-reached” when the justices struck down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act he signed in 1998 that defined marriage in Iowa as only between one man and one woman. The 7-0 ruling in April 2009 had the effect of legalizing civil marriages between couples of the same gender – a change that critics argue was legislating from the bench and over-stepping the justices’ constitutional authority that constituted malfeasance in executing their duties.

“I think if you look and read the Constitution, which I have, I think it’s pretty obvious. The Constitution says what the grounds for impeachment are. My reading is it’s not there,” he said. “There’s a difference between malfeasance and over-reaching, I think. I really think that if people look at the Constitution, I think the remedy is that when they come up for retention that people have a chance to vote them out. I think that’s the appropriate remedy. I don’t think that impeachment is the appropriate remedy.”

Branstad has been under pressure to weigh in on the issue since his election in November. 

Branstad's statement comes as conservative Bob Vander Plaats has announced a 99 County tour of Iowa in a renewed effort to oust the remaining four justices.

Check out the promos (via Jeremy), AFTER THE JUMP....

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Iowa Governor-Elect Refuses To Comment On Ousting Of Judges

Could this be a case where the silence is deafening? Governor-elect Terry Branstad is staying mum when asked what he thinks about the news that three Republican Congressmen intend to impeach the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court judges who brought marriage equality to that state in 2009.

Radio Iowa reports:

Tb “This is a separate branch of government and I’ve got enough on my plate not to get into that one,” Branstad says. “So I don’t intend to comment on it.”

Three members of the state’s Supreme Court were ousted in November’s judicial retention election.  Critics charge the court overstepped its authority when it issued a unanimous 2009 ruling which paved the way for same-sex marriage in Iowa.

Branstad has repeatedly called on legislators to set the wheels in motion for a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Iowa. As for impeachment, Branstad says that’s the legislature’s business, not his.

“The governor doesn’t have a role in that,” Branstad says. “And I’ve got many things on my plate so I have not looked into that at all.”

Articles of impeachment first must be approved by the 100-member House, then a trial must be held in the Iowa Senate, followed by a vote of two-thirds of the state senators in order to impeach a justice.

In the past, Branstad has stated that he would give the people of Iowa the chance to vote on the same-sex marriage law: "The people of Iowa are the ones that should have the final say on this. They should be given the same opportunity as 31 other states and every state from Maine to California where it’s been on the ballot, the people have voted for it."


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