I expected some blowback the other week after I called a majority of the Iowa House, quoting myself here, "bigots." Nope, no objections to the characterization.
Indeed, the Republicans, and some "Democrats," are now openly embracing the notion that the marriage fight is about the "right" to openly discriminate:
It would be legal for an Iowa business owner who cites religious beliefs to refuse to provide jobs, housing, goods or services to people involved in a marriage that violates his or her religious convictions, according to a bill an Iowa House subcommittee will consider on Wednesday...But this isn't about making policy that sticks, since we all know those evil Activist Judges will Legislate From The Bench. It's about making statements. We hate faggots and we get to say we hate faggots.
Drake University constitutional law scholar Mark Kende said of the bill, "It seems to have some significant constitutional issues that are problematic."
Here, for me, is the worst part:
A similar bill, House File 2350, was introduced last year by Rep. Kurt Swaim, D-Bloomfield, a lawyer. That bill had 21 sponsors, including Democrats and Republicans, but the proposal did not advance past the committee process.The Iowa Democratic Party needs to cut off every dime to this yay-hoo ASAP. See, here's the deal:
"I think it has some merit," Swaim said of the bill. "I think this may be a way that we could approach the issue (of same-sex marriage) and hopefully come to some consensus."
Swaim makes the case, implicitly and explicitly, that he needs to vote his district: “Sometimes when I represent my district I have to differ from other members of my caucus that come from more liberal parts of the state.” But in this day and age, a party can't get away with saying one thing in Bloomfield and another in Iowa City.
The real danger from Democrats, on this issue and so many others, doesn't come from Republicans or from the Ralph Nader Boogeyman. The real enemy is disillusionment.
As long as there's one Democrat siding with the conservatives, the ever-"objective" media will pounce on it and play it up. See this morning's Register: "It seems this is a bipartisan notion: State Rep. Kurt Swaim (D-Bloomfield) filed a similar bill last session."
No, it's not "bipartisan." It's 100 percent of the Republicans and three out of 40 Democrats.
But as long as there's even one, as long as there's a Ben Nelson arguing against health care, or a Heath Shuler bashing a Nancy Pelosi, or a Kurt Swaim arguing for prejudice and bigotry, with the excuse of "voting my district," there will be a generation of new voters looking at the process, saying "there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans," and dropping out.
Last week the eloquent floor speeches by House Democrats like our own Mary Mascher, Vicki Lensing and Dave Jacoby, and the pointed, unanswered questions from our own Nate Willems, were undercut by the votes of Swaim, Dan Muhlbauer and Brian Quirk. Those three yes votes were worse for our party than all the Republican votes.
On no issue is this generational divide so pronounced as it is on marriage equality. The marriage issue is not a threat for Democrats. It is an opportunity. Young people GET it: discrimination is wrong. If young people didn't get it, Zach Wahls wouldn't have gone viral. And we're not going to get the bigot vote anyway. Between this, the birthers and Don't Make Me Press 1 For English, that's solidly in the other camp. The Republicans couldn't be trying harder to push millenial generation voters away.
Do we really want to play that game too? Harry Truman saw the flaw in that strategery: give `em a choice between a Republican and a Republican, and they'll vote for a Republican every time. We're risking a future generation for a handful of rural districts, and we could end up with neither.
I can't do this justice anymore. We need the truth-tellers at The Onion:
DECATUR, IL, THE YEAR 2083—According to students in Mr. Bernard's fourth-period U.S. history class, it's "really pathetic" how long it took for early-21st-century Americans to finally legalize gay marriage.Not everyone, Jeremy, just a majority of the Iowa House.
"Wow, that is nuts," said student Jeremy Golliver, who claimed he knew gay rights was a struggle "like, a hundred years ago" but didn't realize it lasted so long.
"I mean, was everybody just a huge bigot back then or what?" Golliver added.