April 3rd, 2009
04:16 PM ET
8 years ago

Republicans weigh in on Iowa same-sex ruling

Michael Steele is one of several Republicans criticizing the Iowa Supreme Court ruling.

Michael Steele is one of several Republicans criticizing the Iowa Supreme Court ruling.

(CNN) - Republicans are sharply criticizing the Iowa Supreme Court ruling Friday that reverses the state's 11-year-old ban on same-sex marriage.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele:

"The Iowa Supreme Court's decision today to reverse an 11 year old state law outlawing same-sex marriage is sadly another example of judicial activism currently threatening family values in America. While I respect an individual's right to live his or her life as they see fit, decisions like this are better left in the hands of legislators and governors."

"I firmly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. A state's autonomous nature allows it to change its laws as the citizenry sees fit, but it should be done by the people, not through judicial decree."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:

"I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman and the definition of marriage should be left to the people and not to activist courts."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (via Twitter):

"Iowa Sup. Court dec. to allow same sex marriage is disappointing. All Iowans should have a say in this matter, not legislative judges ... must fight to preserve family and amend the Constitution of the United States to define marriage as one man and one woman."

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford:

Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, did not react to the Iowa ruling specifically, but said the governor is "against same-sex marriage." Sawyer pointed out that "South Carolina passed a same-sex marriage ban last year, and the governor was supportive of it."

Alaska governor Sarah Palin:

Bill McAllister, a spokesman for Palin, said that as of this morning, "we haven't discussed it." Palin has said she opposes defining marriage as anything but between a man and a woman.

Filed under: Michael Steele • Mitt Romney
soundoff (96 Responses)

    No one has the right to say whether a gay couple can get married or not. It's not up to the popular vote or what a judge says, it's up to that couple!!!
    They say dems are socialist but what do they call this?

    April 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. JC

    Nonsense. The Iowa Supreme Court was fulfilling its duty to protect a minority class from the tyranny of the masses. This is the very reason these checks and balances are put into place.

    There are zero secular reasons to deny gay and lesbian citizens marriage equality, and our nation supposedly guarantees a separation of church and state. Any religious argument against gay marriage is therefore moot.

    Case closed.

    April 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Brian Crooks

    This is pathetic. They need to understand how the constitution works. It's not up to a governor or legislators to decide if a law is constitutional. The legislation made their position known 11 years ago when they wrote the law outlawing gay marriage. Then, when a citizen (a person since you're so big on letting the PEOPLE have a voice) challenged the law, it was up to the court to decide if the law was constitutional. Do they think that the court should've said "I don't know if this is constitutional or not; we better have a vote to decide"? The rights of a minority should never be subjected to the vote of a majority because the minority will ALWAYS lose.

    April 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. The Drifter

    There you go again republicans...trying to force your ideals and beliefs on other people. I thought you were all about less government!?

    April 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. cheese

    Nobody is trampling on their rights! They have the same rights to marriage the rest of us have. They have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    April 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Zach K

    Steele is just a token for the GOP, Romney's a moron, and I like Huckabee, but I don't agree with him.

    Iowa's Supreme Court ruled it. Deal with it. Respect the High Court.

    April 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. j.c.

    this is why the Republican party is dead.

    April 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. ray ray

    WHY is it people seem to lose their cognitive skills when it comes to gay marriage???


    Gay people can get married... to a person of the opposite sex.

    Straight people ALSO are prohibited from marrying someone of the same sex.

    Where is the discrimination??

    April 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Shawn

    NOTICE the courts are ALWAYS called Activist went the decision is against Republicans and Religious fanatics? It never fails! Why don't you do something about divorce, adultery and domestic abuse that are in your own homes and families? That will benefit marriage more than attacking gay marriage.

    April 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    It always amuses me when judges rule on an issue that the extreme Right (read: extremely narrow-minded) disagrees with, and they are therefore labeled "activist judges". What is not amusing, is that thousands of non-thinkers will be parroting the same spew tomorrow on the talk shows.

    April 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Soaponarope

    I live in Republican country called Tennessee and i can tell you there are more gay people in this state than in any other state I've lived in. My husband is a therapist and he constantly has someone in his office who is married with children and mentions that they are gay but haven't told anyone. Also, everyone knows that most of the Christian musicians in this town are gay. So I would guess that some of the Republicans who are against gay marriage are probably in the closet.

    April 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Adam Connecticut

    We are still waiting for credible proof that gay marriage provides a tangible threat to our society or marriage as a whole as opposed to a threat to people's religious view of marriage. By the way, tradition is such a poor argument. Please don't bring that one out because it is not a valid point. We shouldn't venerate traditions just because they are tradition. The wrong thing done over a long period of time doesn't make it any more right. No one is forcing your church, clergy, etc. to perform marriages and go against their beliefs. Oh no! Scary gay people are declaring their love for each other! From past Supreme Court rulings, "separate but equal" has already been found to be unacceptable as it should be. Which btw doesn't really even apply seeing as civil unions across the country aren't always giving equal benefits to marriage.

    April 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Real Change

    "Should be left to the people not to an activist court."

    Activists decisions are those that do not adhere to the constitution. It is not "activist" for a court to find an assurance of basic human and civil rights in the constitution! The very most basic reason for having a constitution is to guarentee those rights to people who's rights would otherwise be violated by the "will of the people." We do not "put it to the people" to decide wether a group is entitled to basic human and civil liberties! That is constitutionally guarnteed and we have courts to make sure that that guartee is not violated!

    By this logic Brown versus Board was the work of activist judges.

    April 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. boered1

    @Shooky You say that this should be left to the people to decide. I simply point you to the CONSTITUTION and ask if you ahve ever read it or understood it. THREE SEPERATE BUT EQUAL ARMS were built into our Government. An Executive Branch to negotiate and direct overall policy and enforce the laws, a Legislative Branch to write the laws, to fund specific projects and to approve any negotiation, and a Judical to over see the laws, contracts and funding that are written and approved and ensure they are within the guidelines of the Constitution. Within the Legislative Branch there are TWO houses a Senate (orignally APPOINTED by each state but since then this wise decision was overturned) and a House. The House was designed to reflect the will of the people, the Senate to reflect the will of the country, these tow together were what was supposed to write our laws (not lobbiest as during the bush administration). The JOB OF THE JUDICAL BRANCH IS TO OVERRIDE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IF THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONSTITUTION. There is a way to override the Judicial branch and that is by a 2/3 majority of the people AND STATES agreeing to change the Constitution. In the case of personal freedoms this has NOT occured and therefore these laws are rightly and correctly overridden! So to answer your implied question the will of the people is subordinate to the Constitution unless the people override the Constitution, this has NOT happened and therefore the will of the people loses and these CONSTITUTIONAL JUDGES ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AND ALL THE RADICAL RELIGIOUS RIGHTWING SPIN AND WHINE CANNOT CHANGE THE FACT THEY ARE CORRECT!!!

    April 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Scott the Independent

    Why are republicans concerned about who the guy or women around the corner or down the block or in the next town are in bed with. I don't care what my neighbor is doing as long as he ain't doin it with me. Mind your own personal business. What happened to "government should stay out of our personal lives". I think who I sleep with is way more personal than me wanting to carry a gun. But, you rethugs won't stop interferring in Americans private lives. Even the pro-choice thing is a women's personal issue – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. KMP

    Marriage is between one man and one woman. The dangerous thing about allowing this foolishness of same sex unions given the label as marriage is you open a door to another level of depravity. The next thing you will hear about is people wanting to marry their pets. I personally do not care that people choose to participate in same sex relationships, if it makes you happy -great, but do not put it on the same level with a marriage between a man and woman. It is like comparing night with day, and apples to oranges, not even close. It is wrong for the courts to decide something as serious as this for an entire state. This matter in Iowa would have received a resounding, earthshattering-NO, if the voters had decided. Please do not say this comment is anti-gay, I am pro marriage=one man+one woman.

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. D., Cleveland, OH

    If marriage is a "god" thing strictly defined by religious bigotry, it has no role in state or federal legislation. Civil unions for everyone! What you do in your own church shouldn't have any legal significance.

    April 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Nina

    Yes, put it to a vote!! If we put all minority rights subject to the majority we would still have segregation, the criminalizing of a woman's right to choose, and so many other rights the Constitution guarantees!! That's the point of a Constitution. No worries my my gay and lesbian friends, this "debate" will soon be over and those opposing equal rights will be relics of the past. Good for the Iowa Supreme Court for upholding the Constitution.

    April 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    Why does anyone listen to Republicans they have no clue how to run a country let alone some ones rights. The last administration screwed the American people over and over for 8 years. If they want to complain they have enough in there own party to point fingers at. LEAVE THE PEOPLE ALONE.

    April 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Lynn

    The Republicans are permanently stuck in the twentieth century!

    April 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Brian in AZ

    You know, this is a real opening for republicans. That is to say, it's an issue they poll well on (with this very political ticker featuring an entry on how the majority of americans oppose same sex marriage) and they can use that to their advantage. The Obama administration, in political expediency, has sided with the majority on this and has opposed same sex marriage (though upholding civil unions).

    Which places Obama in a precarious position of opposing a position some of his left base feel passionately about. If the republicans press the issue (in which they'd have to be very tactful, in view of the pressing issue of the economy), they could put some distance between Obama and a protion of his base. It'll be interesting to see how widespread republican reactions to the ruling are.

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Pete

    1. How is a straight marriage affected negatively by a gay marriage?

    2. If the purpose of marriage is exclusively to produce children, should the infertile be prohibited from getting married?

    3. Can anyone come up with a reason there should be no gay marriage that isn't religiously based? Don't cite "tradition" either, because it used to be "tradition" that women shouldn't be allowed to vote or own property, black people weren't human beings, and that those who didn't believe in the Christian God were executed.

    Read the decision, the court simply said that the only way gay marriage can be denied is that if the court were to declare that gay people weren't human beings, let alone full citizens.

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. reality check


    thank goodness the Iowa supreme court believes in such things as freedom, equality and justice.

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Joseph, Los Angeles

    When are the Republicans going to stop critizing everything and just learn to live with people of all different races and backgrounds? Everyone in this country should have rights, not just straight men and women.

    April 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. Mike

    The last time I checked Iowa was a part of the US. This is supposed to be a free country isn't it? They did the right thing.

    April 3, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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