Letter from the Iowa Governor

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Reddit0Share on Tumblr0Email this to someone

So, I recently got a letter from the office of the governor.  I knew what it was, so I didn’t bother opening it until this weekend, as I was doing some much needed cleaning as I prepare to move back east.

Back when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, there was a lot of concern about reaction to it.  Following the lead of One Iowa, I made a personal phone call to Governor Chet Culver to make sure I knew I supported the ruling.  This letter is his “response.”

It isn’t very heart-warming though.  As you may recall, Culver took a very middle-of-the-road politically safe (cowardly) position after the court.  It shows in this letter.  I’ve posted scans below, but here are two passages to note:

As I have stated before, I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  This is a tenet of my personal faith.

See what I mean?  He sends me this letter.  His point is that everybody still gets to hold this belief; the ruling is just about civil marriage.  But my question is: Why do I care what the governor’s faith is?  His religious beliefs should have absolutely no effect on the job he performs.  It’s not my business, and no situation should arise when I should need to make it my business.

Then, there’s this little gem:

The Court also concluded that the denial of this right constitutes discrimination.  Therefore, after careful consideration and a thorough reading of the Court’s decision, I am reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution to add a provision that our Supreme Court has said is unlawful and discriminatory.

He is reluctant.  He’s not firmly opposed.  He’s not strongly against.  He’s merely reluctant to support something that is apparently unlawful and discriminatory.

I suppose I appreciate the governor’s attention to responding to his constituents, but I think he needs a better writer if his goal was to actually appease me.  This I don’t want to lose political ground so I guess I’ll tolerate your rights is not impressive in the least.

Anyways, here’s the letter, complete with my name spelled wrong (of course).

Letter from the IA Gov 1Letter from the IA Gov 2

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Reddit0Share on Tumblr0Email this to someone
Back to Top | Scroll down for Comments!

There are 6 Comments to "Letter from the Iowa Governor"

  • When was the first “legal” marriage?

  • ZackFord says:

    When the ruling first came down in September ’07, there was actually one legal marriage before the ruling was stayed. No other couples were allowed to marry, but Sean and Tim were legally married for a year and a half before it the State Supreme Court ruling in early April. The second legal marriage happened about three weeks later.

    Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Iowa

    And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varnum_v._Brien

  • No, I mean way back in the day: the first two people to get married under a court of law. When was it? What allowed them to do so? Is this known?

    In order for me to feel wholly comfortable in making any argument, I need to be aware of the entire history. So if you want to gain the strength of the people, you’ve got to remind them where they came from, especially when the case involves a minority group. And with politics, candidates need to know there is a vested interest. Deeper history = larger interest = stronger case.

  • ZackFord says:

    Well, this is a tricky question.

    Marriage has been around for many centuries. The characters in the Old Testament married, so there is a strong religious tradition. I doubt many would jump to call that “traditional marriage” since men kept many wives at that time (David had 8, Solomon had 700).

    In fact, marriage means many different things in many different cultures, and has changed quite a bit over time. Consider that marriage often meant that women became the property of men. Marriage has changed quite a bit even in the past 150 years with the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality.

    While I’m no marriage historian, it makes a lot of sense that “civil marriage” became more common as a distinction when the Protestant movement began, because single churches no longer controlled government and inter-religious marriage probably became more common. (Again, this is just my assumption considering what we know about history.)

    The real question to consider is: “What is government’s interest in recognizing marriage?” The Iowa marriage decision, Varnum v. Brien (which I blogged about here: http://is.gd/MvKj), actually takes time to address this question. They had to, because it was pivotal to see if same-sex couples were being discriminated against. Here are some of the points the court identified in its decision:

    » Marriage laws “are rooted in the necessity of providing an institutional basis for defining the fundamental relational rights and responsibilities of persons in organized society.”

    » Civil marriage is “a partnership to which both partners bring their financial resources as well as their individual energies and efforts.”

    » “The marriage state is not one entered into for the purpose of labor and support alone,” but also includes “the comfort and happiness of the parties to the marriage contract.”

    » “The marriage to be dissolved is not a mere contract, but is a status.” Marriage changes the parties’ “legal and social status.”

    » Iowa marriage laws “are designed to bring a sense of order to the legal relationships of committed couples and their families in myriad ways.”

    Among their conclusions, the court responded as such:

    “Viewed in the complete context of marriage, including intimacy, civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual. Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute. Instead, a gay or lesbian person can only gain the same rights under the statute as a heterosexual person by negating the very trait that defines gay and lesbian people as a class—their sexual orientation.”

    I hope this all helps.

  • Well they understand. Did they rule for it?

  • ZackFord says:

    Yes. Thanks to their wisdom in the case, same-sex marriage is now legal in Iowa. 🙂

    I happened upon this video today that addresses the Biblical question, quite humorously: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw

Write a Comment