A Mouse On The Bed

Many years ago, when I was in college, I awoke in my Cedar Rapids apartment one morning to find my dear, departed cat Ginger sitting on the end of my bed. She had one of those proud, self-satisfied looks on her face. Through the covers I could feel a little movement near my foot.

I sat up further and saw where the movement came from. Ginger had captured a small gray mouse, and was, as animals do, presenting me with a gift. How sweet.

Needless to say I humanely disposed of the mouse (I opened my ground-floor window and set it outside), and Ginger looked shocked at me, but we moved on.

This past week, the Iowa House of Representatives presented Iowa with similar gift. Voting 62-37, the House voted for a measure that would create a ballot measure for a Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state. This comes just months after the reactionary vote led by Bob VanderPlaats and Steve King and their ilk that ousted three of our Supreme Court justices – including Vinton native, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus. The Court had ruled in 2008 that the Iowa Constitution did not ban same-sex marriage, therefore it was legal in the state.

We are not going really debate the issue of same-sex marriage, other than to say that no matter how reactionaries try to color it, trying to ban same-sex marriage is a manifestation of homophobia and bigotry. Period. It’s not about “protecting marriage” or not for the Bible (which says a lot more about forgiveness, love and acceptance than it does about homosexuality). We destroy that which we don’t understand, and no one is better at that than reactionaries. It is bigotry, and sadly, there is no other word for it.

No, what I want to debate today is the colossal waste of time of this entire exercise. OK, it did land us on the national news and made a viral-video hero out of Zach Wahls, 19-year old University of Iowa student who bravely and eloquently spoke of his family, with two mothers. The Eagle Scout, Dean’s List student pretty much shot down the reactionary idea that same-sex couples shouldn’t marry and can’t be good parents.

OK, the GOP-led House passed the measure. But the punchline to the joke is that the Iowa Senate won’t. The Democratic-controlled Senate won’t even bring the measure to a vote. So, there will be no ballot measure anytime in the near future.

What is really funny about all of this is that the House of Representatives KNEW this before they ever held a public hearing. They KNEW it before they voted. They wasted taxpayer time and money on an exercise in futility. They did, in effect, catch a mouse, give it to Iowa, and Iowa threw it out the window.

Is this really what we elected our representatives to do? Did we really create an exercise in futility? Did we really send 89 representatives to Des Moines to hold a meaningless vote? Are the reactionaries of this state so keen on impressing their leadership that they went to all of this trouble?

On the national scene, we have become a national joke. Like Kansas and Fred Phelps and Arizona and hunting down immigrants, we have gone from being a state of minds to a state of bigots. We are creating a state sanction for the violation of human rights. I know I’m proud.
We have major educational-funding issues, our infrastructure is crumbling, and our economy is a wreck. And on top of that, the best we could come up with for Governor was a Re-Run.

But we still took the time to hold a public hearing and House vote on a issue that will not go anywhere.

I have a friend who is a Vinton native, who now lives out of state, and is as aghast at these proceedings as I am. She asked me whatever happened to the progressive Iowa she remembered, the one she was proud to say she was from? I pointed out that now, the operative word in the statement was no longer PROUD; it was FROM.

Enjoy your mouse, Iowans.

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2 Responses to “A Mouse On The Bed”

  1. combscp Says:

    Great write-up. All too often this debate succumbs to theater. The fact that Iowa’s Republic Representatives took up this ballot knowing it wouldn’t pass through the Senate (similar to the GOP’s current battle against health care in Congress) seems to prove just that. It’s theater, it’s a stunt. Not meant to spark genuine discussion but only further polarize politics.

    But then comes along someone like Zach, who injects thoughtful and inspiring thoughts into the discussion. Truly amazing. We need more people like him. 🙂

  2. Tweets that mention A Mouse On The Bed « Watching the Wheels -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mo Sheronick, Jeff Holmes. Jeff Holmes said: One man's thoughts about the Iowa House's vote on same-sex marriage: http://tinyurl.com/4r8fejh […]

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