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Jan 4

Written by: Greg Runyon
1/4/2011 3:10 PM 

My buddy Bob Vander Plaats is at it again.  The man with seemingly excessive spare time and permanent proverbial cob up his arse is not satisfied with having drummed up a bunch of out of state money to (regrettably successfully) scare Iowans into believing that they'd better run three state Supreme Court Justices off the bench because they had the gall to join the other four justices on the court in unanimously--unanimously, for crying out loud, not some close-run split decision--ruling that couples of the same gender are entitled to equal protection under the law when it comes to the right to be married.  Mr. Vander Plaats doesn't like the fact that gay people can get hitched, and he sure expends a lot of effort trying to revoke the rights of other supposedly free people on this topic.


His latest project, according to the Associated Press, is to raise money so he can “gauge interest in convincing the four (remaining) justices (who ruled in a way that didn't suit him) to resign and efforts to impeach them if they don't step down,” parentheses mine, of course.  Is it just me, or does that sound suspiciously like blackmail?  His offer to them is “step down or we'll rabble-rouse against you.”  How nice.  Judges in Iowa, though they are subject to retention votes every so often, do not campaign in the elections in which they are up for retention, so when this holier-than-thou bunch starts campaigning against them, they have little recourse but to sit back and take it with the dignity that we expect of our judges.  Pretty fair fight, huh?


I've not heard a single decent argument for why two consenting adults who happen to be of the same gender can enter into every kind of civil contract imaginable except for marriage.  In the twenty or so months since the Iowa Supreme Court acknowledged that this exception made no sense, can someone, anyone, tell me what has been the negative impact of the decision?  Even if you are so emotionally constipated that the mere sight of a same-gender couple walking through the mall holding hands would give you fits, can you demonstrate for me that you've seen some staggering increase in that behavior?  It's not like we're being overrun by gay people and that our precious children have stopped having opposite-sex relationships.  Quite the contrary, in fact, with the teen birth rate in Iowa up a whisker year over year 2005-2006, the last years for which I was able to obtain figures.  A contrarian such as myself might argue that we could actually stand a tad more homosexuality just to get that teen birth rate down, but I don't like telling other people how to conduct their sex lives.  If only Plaat-y-puss would feel likewise.


How about we try something fun to demonstrate the reprehensible nature of telling other adults of sound mind whom they may or may not marry?  Just for a day or a week out of the year, let's declare that only same-gender couples can get married in Iowa.  What, we shouldn't infringe on heterosexual couples' basic human rights like that?  Huh.  How interesting.


No one is telling your church they have to marry anyone.  That's your private little club, and y'all can make whatever exclusionary rules you like while singing songs about how much you love other people (while perhaps secretly thinking “As long as they are like me.”  Wonder what your God thinks of that.)  When in doubt, I always think it's best to fall back on “do unto others.”  Don't want someone to come along some day and tell you who you can and cannot marry?  Well then, why are you doing that to other people?


There are a handful of people in this world whom I love that are gay, and a bunch more whom I like that are.  And I've got news for all of you who think you don't have any such people in your lives:  You do, you just don't know what they do behind closed doors.  I don't know what Bob Vander Plaats does behind closed doors, but regardless of how similar it may or may not be to what I do behind closed doors, I can assure you that contemplating what he might do makes me about as ill as I'm sure it makes him to contemplate what gay people are doing.  The lesson here would seem to be “stop worrying about what anyone other than you does behind closed doors.”  There, problem solved.


To me, liberty ought to always be expanded to as many people as possible.  To think otherwise is to be on the wrong side of history.  Iowa has been a damn fine “freedom laboratory” in the instance of same-sex marriage.  Here we are in the heartland, being way out front on the frontiers of history, and our society has not crumbled by letting “those people” have their pesky human rights.  Now is not the time to roll back human rights, it is the time to expand them.  We are a beacon of liberty here in the midwest.  Let's not give that back simply because some would-be tyrant who apparently has a lot of time to spare says we should.  We're a better people than that.  Let's remember to act like it.


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