Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller told county clerks they don’t have the power to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, given the State Supreme Court’s recent ruling. And if they don’t comply come April 27, when the rules go into effect? Miller (pictured, right) delivers this thinly veiled threat: “If necessary, we will explore legal actions to enforce and implement the Court’s ruling, working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and county attorneys.” That is: fire them. It’s sent State Sen. Merlin Bartz into a tizzy.
The Republican senator (pictured, left) responded with his own choice words: “It is truly amazing to me that the state’s Attorney General chose to not follow his own rules of providing legal council to the state regarding cases where the state has an interest, and yet he’s stating publicly that county recorders cannot refuse to issue same sex marriage licenses. Evidently, the Attorney General gets a conscience clause free pass but the county recorders don’t.”
If his statement didn’t make it clear, Bartz doesn’t want you homos enjoying the same freedom to divorce as the heteros. Working with the uber-conservative Iowa Family Policy Center, Bartz is trying to drum up support with a petition drive to allow county clerks to use their “conscience” in deciding who gets a marriage license. Bartz already failed to insert language into a bill that would allow it.
So, let’s break this down: County clerks/recorders are elected officials, which means they vow to uphold various local regulations and laws and — oh, what’s that? The Iowa Constitution? Which the Supreme Court had the final say in how it’s interpreted? And some state senator (also an elected official) thinks there’s a way around this?