Thursday, April 9, 2009

We're awake, we're awake!

It's a sign of how asleep (or distracted) the GOP and the conservatives are when it's 3 days after the State Supreme Court ruling, and they're just now playing their 'straight up & down vote' bullshit for a constitutional amendment nullifying the ruling.

Again - it's interesting in how the House is getting the drama as it's the body with the weaker majority in both numbers and leadership this session. Calling in the Senate leadership for a joint rules conference just highlights how weak that chamber is.

And as I write this, the story has been completely re-edited and re-published, omitting a number of interesting things. Here's the original text from prior to noon CDT:And here is the rest of it.
People were yelling "Let us vote" from the Iowa House galleries just after 10 a.m., after a Republican attempt to call up the constitutional amendment against gay marriage was ruled out of order.

Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen had asked at 9:26 a.m. for a call of the House and sought to bring to the House floor the resolution to propose a constitutional amendment.

The call of the House required all representatives at the Capitol to report to their desk and they are not to leave the House chambers. Such moves are often made when controversial votes come before the legislature to help prevent lawmakers from leaving.

After a huddle involving leaders from the House and Senate, House Speaker Pat Murphy ruled Paulsen's motion out of order shortly after 10 a.m.. Shouts erupted from the galleries, which were packed with spectators, as lawmakers filed into closed-door meetings.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal spoke to the House leaders in the well about the attempt to suspend the joint rules to bring up the proposed marriage amendment resolution.

“One chamber can’t do that,” Gronstal said. “I was there to defend the joint rules.”

The only way to suspend the joint rules is for someone to introduce a resolution in rules and administration committee. If it starts in the House, then there’s a vote in House committee and in the full House. If it passes, it goes to Senate committee then a vote of the full House.

About 10 a.m. Murphy ruled out of order the effort to bring up House Joint Resolution 6, the marriage amendment. He also ruled out of order the call of the House. Loud shouts of protest erupted from the gallery as lawmakers moved into closed-door caucus meetings.

“We’re not going to let mob rule rule this state,” Murphy said as people exited the chambers, noting his frustration with the chanting.

Murphy is a long-time supporter of civil rights and believes same-sex couples should have the legal right to marry.

“If you take a look at history, the court’s job has always been to protect the minority. Whether it was women’s right to vote, whether it was an African American doesn’t have to be a slave. An African American has the right to marry a white person. That’s what this is about.”

Chuck Hurley, of the Iowa Family Policy Project, said his group would continue to work to ban gay marriage.

“I’m ashamed of my state’s leaders. I’m ashamed of the people not having the chance to vote,” Hurley said.

Hurley noted that his group is not telling people how to vote.

“The essence of what we do is love and love,” Hurley said. According to history and sacred writings, love always perseveres. It doesn’t give up. If you really love God and your neighbors, you don’t give up. That’s the message.”

Earlier today, roughly 400 opponents of same-sex marriage took part in a prayer at the Capitol.

They're asking lawmakers in the House to allow a bill that would launch a constitutional amendment to move forward.

Security was stepped up considerably at the Statehouse this morning. Troopers are standing guard outside the chamber doors, in the balconies and around the Iowa Capitol.

The prayer was led by members of the Iowa Family Policy Center, a conservative group that opposes same-sex marriage. They said they would work to vote elected officials who support gay marriage out of office.

“You can let them know today that this issue is different. This is not about taxes or spending and regulations. This is about morality and the word of God,” said Family Policy Center Board Chair Danny Carroll, a former Republican representative from Grinnell.

One Iowa, the state’s largest gay-rights advocacy group is also making an appearance. Members of the group were handing out stickers and gathering in support of gay marriage.

Even if the bill were to pass this year, it would also have to pass the Legislature in 2011 and couldn’t be on the ballot until 2012.

Murphy and Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, have publicly stated support for last week’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry.

About 80 people, predominantly dressed in red shirts, gathered in the rotunda outside the House chambers. Doorkeepers said safety officials declared the House too full to let another person inside.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff arrived decked fully in red - a fire-engine red suit coat and red slacks.

Troopers watched the crowd carefully, but all remained peaceful as of 10 a.m.

Ratliff has led many protests against same-sex marriage. He contrasted the issue with those of civil rights related to race and ethnicity.

“I think this is a choice issue. As an African American, I was born this way. Based, at least the information that has been gathered this far, homosexuality is a choice. So I see that as two different situations.”

Brad Clark of One Iowa urged lawmakers to stay focused on issues of common concern to all Iowa families.

“The Supreme Court, the governor, the attorney general and legislative leadership have clearly articulated that all Iowans should be protected under the Iowa Constitution,” Clark said.

Meanwhile, the chambers of the Iowa Senate were calm and empty of anyone but
clerks and lawmakers.

“They have nothing available to them in the Senate,” Gronstal said. “No Republican introduced a marriage amendment in the Senate so there’s nothing for them to take up on our side."

Protesters said they were disappointed at the amendment didn’t take a step forward.

“We didn’t really think it would, but we were hopeful that it would,” said Dave Pierce of Grinnell. “I see it more of a spiritual matter than a political matter.”

Pierce said he e-mailed about a dozen representatives last night who he heard were “on the fence” about bringing up the amendment. And he telephoned his representative, Eric Palmer D-Oskaloosa.

His nephew, Ethan Pierce, 9, managed to get a seat in the House balcony to watch events unfold. Ethan lives in rural Grinnell, and his representative, Betty DeBoef, R-What Cheer, was firmly on the family’s side, they said.


Twinky P* said...

Yeah, it really was surprising how long it took for them to start making noise. And it's just noise, right?

idiosynchronic said...

So far. I don't think we'll remain so lucky in the coming months. It's very clear at this time that with little else to campaign on, this issue is a boon to the Iowa GOP that is as out of power as it's national organization.

I also suspect that the conservatives expected the Court to verify, not fully reject, the same-sex marriage ban. Most of the Court was appointed by a GOP governor between 1983-1999.

Twinky P* said...

this issue is a boon to the Iowa GOP that is as out of power as it's national organization.

Yeah, that was always going to be a worry, but I wonder if people have moved on for the most part with worries about the economy. Let's hope so.