Iowans Rally Against Gay Marriage
For the second time in less than a week, hundreds of traditional marriage supporters rallied on Monday outside the Iowa Capitol to protest the state Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriage.
Rally speakers told a crowd huddled under umbrellas in the rain that legislators and the governor have the ability to stop the Court's April 3 same-sex ruling.
Bill Salier, co-founder of Everyday America, which organized the rally, said the state high court can only issue opinions, not change the law.
"[Lawmakers] can face down the court and say, 'We passed DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. You claim that it is stricken. And yet unless some magic eraser came down from the sky, it's still in code,'" Salier told the crowd, according to The DeMoines Register.
Around 300 people attended Monday's rally, held just days after a prayer rally last week that urged Iowa lawmakers to place the same-sex marriage issue before voters.
State representatives on Thursday voted against a resolution that would have allowed Iowans to decide on a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.
Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center, which organized last week's rally, led the opening prayer on Monday.
Senator Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) said he took to the floor to ask the Senate to allow gay marriage to be put to a public vote but was turned down.
"We took it to the floor. I actually spoke about it on the floor ... was blocked and denied by the leadership of the Democratic party in the senate which was truly disappointing," Feenstra said, according to KSFY-Action News.
Salier said Iowans who support traditional marriage should back primary election candidates who share their views.
Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican candidate for governor, said Democratic Governor Chet Culver should issue an executive order to stay gay marriages until Iowans have the opportunity to vote on a marriage amendment.
If the House and Senate considers approves the legislation during the 2009 session and during the 2010 session, citizens could vote on the marriage amendment as early as 2011. Otherwise, the next possible opportunity for a ballot vote would not come until at least 2013.
Plaats said that if elected he would issue an executive order prohibiting gay marriages to take place until Iowans have a chance to weigh in on the issue.
Phil Roeder, a spokesman for Culver, said Plaat's proposal would be illegal.
"Governors in Iowa do not have the ability to prevent or overturn a decision of the Supreme Court through an executive order," said Roeder in a statment. "It's disappointing that some people, especially politicians, would try to mislead the public into thinking that governors do have such power."
According to Everyday America's Web site, organizations participating in the rally included Iowa Christian Alliance, Concerned Women of America, Iowa Eagle Forum and Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators.