The message from Tuesday's Sioux City,
Iowa anti-gay marriage rally was repeal.
About 50 people gather in a parking lot
where the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had parked its
Summer for Marriage Tour 2010 bus.
The nation's most vociferous opponent
of gay marriage has mounted a 23-city bus tour to promote marriage as
between “one man, one woman.” The tour is expected to end with a
Washington D.C. rally on August 15.
Iowa became the first – and remains
the only – Midwestern state to legalize gay marriage when the Iowa
Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of advocates last year. The
issue is driving many of the state's top races, with several
Republicans openly campaigning in favor of a constitutional amendment
to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
Several attempts to begin the amendment
process have been blocked by Democratic leaders in the Legislature,
angering social conservatives opposed to the institution.
At a Sunday rally in the capital of Des
Moines, Tamara Scott, director of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women
for America, framed the gay marriage debate in terms of dollars and
“It costs you, the taxpayer, as high
as $280 billion a year for fragmented families, according to the
Family Research Council,” Scott told the crowd, referring to a 2009
study from the social conservative group.
“If we would correct the breakdown of
the family by 1 percent, we could save the taxpayer $3 billion a
year. … We can fix this economic downturn very easily by fixing
some hearts,” she added.
Studies by the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law, however, show that gay marriage has been a
boom for states that have legalized it. A 2008 study estimated that
the institution would generate $160 million for Iowa through 2011.
At a pro-gay marriage event held two
miles down the road, First Lady Mari Culver told the Iowa
Independent that she disagreed with Scott's views of how gay
marriage impacts the economy.
“I think [NOM] is looking for some
economic cover, rather than reveal that some in their group are
simply anti-gay,” she said.
In Sioux City, speakers pounded away at
the theme of abolishing gay marriage in Iowa.
“The justices have been like black
robed bandits while legislating from the bench. 'We the people' –
it is our obligation to act,” Scott told the crowd
Danny Carroll, a former Republican
legislator and chairman of the Iowa Family Policy Center, reminded
the crowd to vote for anti-gay marriage candidates, including several
justices up for re-election.
“Legislators are counting on people
to forget about what they did with marriage,” Carroll said. “The
power of democracy is with you the people. Find out where your
legislators stand. Look them eye to eye and ask them directly. They
are public servants – they work for you.”
“Many Iowans plan to vote NO on the
justices being retained – holding them responsible for what they've
done to marriage. It is time to say enough is enough!”
And NOM President Brian Brown reminded
the crowd that his group had successfully campaigned for passage of
Proposition 8, the 2008 measure that ended gay marriage in California
after the state Supreme Court legalized it.
“If things look tough in Iowa with
the Supreme Court, look at California two years ago,” he said.
Gay marriage advocates kept their
distance in Iowa. In Sioux City, an estimated sixty-four people
joined the state's largest gay advocate, One Iowa, at a nearby
One Iowa recently announced that 2,500
gay and lesbian couples have married in the state since the law came
The bus rolls into Clayton, Missouri on