The resignation of Democratic State
Senator Swati Dandekar could spell trouble for gay marriage in Iowa.
The Democrat-controlled Senate, under
the leadership of Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, has kept an
effort to repeal the law at bay. In February, the
Republican-controlled House approved a measure that seeks to put a
question on the ballot that would define marriage in the Iowa
Constitution as a heterosexual union – and thereby reverse the 2009
Iowa Supreme Court ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest.
Gronstal has vowed to block the measure
from reaching the Senate floor.
But Republican Governor Terry
Branstad's appointment of Dandekar to the Iowa Utilities Board could
result in Democrats losing their one-seat Senate majority. And by
extension, stripping Gronstal of power. In previous sessions where
the Senate was divided, leaders from both parties took turns on
alternating weeks running the chamber.
A special election to fill the seat
will be held on November 8. Dandekar's district predominantly votes
Democrats quickly went on the
offensive, launching the Internet site KeepTheMajority.com.
“This election will be a clear choice
between what voters in the district want: someone who will stand up
and support them in the Iowa Senate, or someone who will pursue a
divisive agenda like Iowa Republicans chose to during the last
session,” Iowa Democratic Chairwoman Sue Dvorksy told The
Des Moines Register. “We're confident that Iowans will
vote for real leadership and choose to maintain Democratic control of