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Watch: Iowa Gubernatorial Candidates Terry Branstad and Chet Culver Field Questions About Marriage Equality

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As a follow-up to my earlier post on the situation in Iowa, here's a clip from last night's Iowa gubernatorial debate between current Governor Chet Culver and former Governor Terry Branstad, in which the candidates field two separate questions about marriage equality.

Branstad's a big FAIL, Culver a big win.

Jeremy Hooper at Good as You, on Governor Chet Culver's answer: "Yes! Finally. An apt articulation of law, the role of the independent judiciary in determining the constitutionality of said law, and the reason why the conversation between a unanimous high court decision vs. a public vote on minority rights is not an equally merited tête-à-tête."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Marriage Defended, Attacked During Iowa Gov. Debate

Branstad Iowa Gov. Chet Culver stood up for his his state's gay marriage law during a debate with Republican rival Terry Branstad last night.

Asked whether same-sex nuptials have had an impact on the state, Culver insisted, "It has not had an effect on the state of Iowa, other than allowing people to make their own decisions." He added, "We should not write discrimination into the Iowa Constitution."

Republican Terry Branstad, not surprisingly, disagreed, and insisted that Iowa voters should be given a vote on a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay love, which was approved by the state's Supreme Court in 2009: “The people of Iowa are the ones that should have the final say on this,” proclaimed Branstad, pictured here. “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."

Culver brushed off Branstad's remarks, saying, quite rightly, "We need to move on. We need to move forward. We do not need to add discrimination to our constitution, something that would only take us backwards on civil rights."

On a related note, Culver, who's trailing in the polls, will attend a dinner tonight for the Fairness Fund, which backs LGBT candidates.


Iowa Gay Rights Group Launches Marriage Equality Letter Writing Campaign to GOP Candidate Terry Branstad

Iowa gay rights group One Iowa has begun a letter writing campaign to former Governor Terry Branstad, who is again running for governor of the state, based on signals that Branstad is more open to marriage equality than his platform reveals.

Branstad The Des Moines Register reports:

"Specifically, Branstad and his campaign have urged the legislature to take actions to start a process that would amend the state’s constitution to specifically prohibit same-sex marriages. But, in recent years at the president of Des Moines University, he also welcomed a speaker on transgendered issues and advertised a lobby day sponsored by One Iowa. Last week Sen. Kim Reynolds, the Republican lieutenant governor nominee, said she would be willing to consider civil unions. Branstad’s campaign quickly issued a clarification saying neither Reynolds nor Branstad favor state-sanctioned civil unions but would not work to prevent private companies from extending such benefits to employees."

Said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison: “We continue to get mixed messages from the Branstad/Reynolds campaign. Both Mr. Branstad’s and Ms. Reynolds’ comments on civil unions indicate a willingness to recognize committed and loving same-sex couples. With the Letters to Mr. Branstad campaign, we want to show the Branstad/Reynolds ticket the positive impact the marriage has on our state, and convince them of the need to protect the freedom to marry for all Iowans.”


Iowa GOP Rejects Major Anti-Gay Bigot Bob Vander Plaats in Favor of Governor Who Signed Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Rabid anti-gay bigot Bob Vander Plaats Iowa gubernatorial campaign was extinguished last night by Iowa voters who realize that marriage equality is not affecting anyone and there are bigger issues to worry about. Vander Plaats lost the primary to former Iowa governor Terry Branstad, who still may pose a threat to same-sex marriage in the state if elected.

Vanderplaats Vander Plaats campaign was largely built around getting rid of the state's marriage equality law.

Said Vander Plaats in April: "The definition of marriage is also going to be an issue in the campaign, and in particular where the incumbent governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature is saying, 'We don't even want to hear from the people on this issue. The courts have said it so therefore we're going to back away and wash our hands of it.' I think that's going to be a major in the 2010 campaign."

The NYT reported on Monday:

"With Iowans going to polls on Tuesday, same-sex marriage has been a matter of debate among the Republican candidates for governor, but the issue appears to have been overtaken by voters’ worries about jobs, the economy and the state’s budget misery. 'Too many other things are upsetting people,' said David A. Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University and a former political reporter for The Des Moines Register."

Iowa Governor Chet Culver, who has supported the Supreme Court's decision upholding marriage equality in the state, will now face Branstad, who served 16 years as Iowa's governor and left office in January 1999.

Vander Plaats wanted three of those Supreme Court justices removed. He says he's planning a meeting with Branstad.

Branstad signed the law banning same-sex marriage in the state which was struck down by the court. He also supports a vote on a constitutional amendment banning it. But he has made no threats to the court.


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