unhelpful distractions

Is Iowa’s Incoming Gov. Terry Branstad Going to Cave To A Conservative Push to Ban Gay Marriage?

Back when Iowa’s Governor-elect Terry Branstad was campaigning, he told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that he supported civil unions for gays — a remark that came only after he denounced same-sex marriage as what caused the ruin of “ancient societies,” and argued only children raised by a father and a mother truly do well in life. And so, while saying he was fine “with people that want to live together and raise a child and things like that,” he declared he did not want the state to hold a constitutional convention to overturn the State Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Too bad: Conservatives are going to push him to do it.

With all the energy radiating from the successful campaign to oust the three Supreme Court justices who joined the court last year in unanimously approving gay marriage, conservatives are keen to push elected Republican officlas to mount an effort to reverse the court’s decision, relays the Iowa Independent. Which would put Branstad — who is already Iowa’s longest serving governor having held the post for 16 years beignning in 1983 –in a tough spot, given his former support for the high court’s processes.

But with social conservatives energized by the ouster of the three Iowa Supreme Court justices over the 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, and new demands that Republicans push hard to overturn the decision, Branstad’s resolve to focus on economic concerns could very well be tested. Even on the subject of judicial retention, Branstad has remained coy. The governor-elect repeatedly refused to comment on the retention vote, and when asked specifically about it would say decisions about the 74 judges on the November ballot should be left to individuals. Even after his victory, Branstad continued his “no comment” policy in regards to the judges’ ouster.

“I think selective silence on retention speaks volumes. It’s essentially a wink and a nod to the Bob Vander Plaats wing of his party that he’s not going to interfere with its assault on the courts. After all, Vander Plaats’ decision to go justice-hunting kept him from running as an independent for governor,” Gazette columnist Todd Dorman wrote before the election. “Branstad flatly denies his silent treatment is tacit support for Vander Plaats’ push. But unless he takes a stand, we’ll never know for sure what he thinks.” Dorman concluded that Branstad’s experience “must tell him that ousting these justices would set a damaging precedent,” and he should have spoken out about it.

[…] Shortly after the court’s gay marriage ruling, Branstad voiced support for the judicial process, telling the Des Moines Register that he may not agree with the decision but “I do respect the existence of the separation of powers.” So Branstad’s silence on the issue was nothing more than pandering, said Arthur Breur, editor of the LGBT newspaper ACCESSline Iowa.

And what about Branstad’s attempt to use his first new gubernatorial term in more than a decade to do something besides fight to ban gay marriage?

Branstad told The Des Moines Register this summer that if the GOP took back the House, which it did on Tuesday, that there would be sufficient political pressure to force a vote on a marriage amendment. But even then, the campaign stressed jobs and the economy more than opposition to same-sex marriage.

As if Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal needed more bullshit to deal with.