So much is going on right now it’s not possible to keep up. Justin Uebelhor from One Iowa is keeping a live twitter feed going from the shenanigans at the Iowa statehouse, but essentially, this is the recap from today. At 8:30 this morning opponents for equal marriage and One Iowa each held rallies at the statehouse; they watched from the galleries as House Republicans attempted to force a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. This was ruled out of order, and the parties went into caucus by 10AM as the opposition chanted “let us vote,” right there in the statehouse. This was the point where Dan and I arrived (I had a doctor appointment at nine in Ames), and we spent about fifteen minutes catching up and taking in the sights under the rotunda. One Iowa was there in force, everyone bedecked in the “blue dot” t-shirts or at the very least sporting One Iowa stickers. Opponents for marriage were in red, and this seemed to go with their aggressive, angry tone. While we stood on the basement level prepping to leave for the One Iowa office, a woman in red with accusatory signs paraded up and down the hall, often going right up to patrons eating or conversing to hover angrily beside them (particularly if they had a blue dot on their shirt). We’d intended to lobby legislators, but since they were in caucus, we adjourned to the office to do some data entry.
Upon our arrival, however, we learned that during the five minute walk from the statehouse Republican leadership had organized a motion to vote out the current leader of the Iowa House, and would force through a vote on an amendment at 1PM. Data entry became phonebanking, and we sat with the rest of the office staff frantically trying to reach Democrats in districts not precisely shored up. When we left they were getting ready to head back up to the statehouse and see what would come of the afternoon.
(On a side note, we slipped past Smash on our way to the car, and I picked up this shirt, but not before we quite literally ran into Governor Culver on the sidewalk as he headed into a restaurant with Patty Judge & an undisclosed entourage. We shook his hand and thanked him for supporting equality and keeping discrimination out of our constitution, or, as I told the checkout person at Smash, “Thanks for not being a dick.”)
As of right now, it appears that House GOP tried to scrap the budget and replace it with a vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; literally just as I was typing that One Iowa tweeted that the House has voted NOT to insert the amendment. I can practically hear the WOOTS from here.
So this is the state of the state: the Republicans have abandoned all work on health care, schools, the economy, and everything relevant to 100% of all Iowans to force debate on an issue which affects a minority fully protected by the state constitution, and in a debate which would change their current status from very, very positive to very, very negative.
Do me a favor, will you? Contact One Iowa and tell them they did a fabulous job, because I can tell you right now, the reason that amendment was not inserted is entirely, one hundred percent because of their hard work and perseverance. Well done, One Iowa. Well done.