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Eggs and Issues: McKinley, Rielly, and Palmer Discuss Same-Sex Marriage in Oskaloosa April 12, 2009

Posted by wpucrs in Uncategorized.


Oskaloosa, Iowa was the site of a lengthy discussion on the recent court ruling that will potentially allow same sex marriage in Iowa.  Over 200 people packed the Smokey Row Coffee House to voice their concern and ask their legislative representatives for a vote on the issue. 

Below is a little bit of what they had to say:

Senator Tom Rielly (D), Oskaloosa –  “This ruling goes against my Catholic values, the values that I was raised with and the values I raise my two daughters with… but in the end I uphold the court’s decision.  I decided this was an issue of civil rights and we must all read the decision.” 

Rielly brought a copy of the court’s ruling and mentioned that he read and interpreted the case throughout the whole week.  He said that he would make sure anyone that wanted a copy would receive a copy from him.

A majority of the crowd was wearing “Let us Vote” stickers and they directed their questioning toward Representative Eric Palmer (D), Oskaloosa and Grinnell.  Palmer is on many accounts one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Iowa house.  Here is a little bit of what he had to say:

“My own personal faith beliefs are not what the Constitution is about…  I took an oath to represent this district and I take that oath seriously… My oath is to uphold the Constitution and I take that oath seriously as well.” 

Palmer made it clear that his religious beliefs cannot dominate his political beliefs and accepts the ruling from a Constitutional standpoint.  However, an interesting question was asked from an opponent in the crowd which addressed Representative Palmer’s acceptance of campaign funds from out of state gay activists (for background on this issue here is a link http://iowaindependent.com/tag/eric-palmer).  The question was stated simply, “will you stand up for family values like your constituents believe or continue to take money from gay activist donations, and you can’t have it both ways?”

Representative Palmer tried to answer the question but there were interruptions from some in the crowd and he couldn’t provide an explanation because of that.  However he did say, “I want a civil discussion, you talk and I’ll talk that’s important for us to remember… Iowans have the right to ask for a Constitutional Convention in two years.”  He went onto explain that Iowa is not a referendum state and this is the way it can be addressed but cautioned the crowd that if you do that once you open up the Constitution for a convention, “you don’t know what will come out.”

Reilly again chimed in and explained to the crowd that this issue will not come up for debate on Senator Gronstal’s watch, “it’s just not going to happen.”

Senator McKinley wasn’t satisfied with Rielly or Palmers assessment stating, “There is a mechanism to bring it up in the Senate, we need 26 signatures for a discharge, which would allow for debate on the floor.”  However he explained Democrats won’t sign.  Out of the three McKinley was the only one that told the crowd that there needs to be a vote.

The Democrats are uniting the Republican Party throughout the state and Mahaska County is no exception.  With the issue of Federal Deductibility (which we will have another post about in the near future) and same-sex marriage a Republican Party that was unenthusiastic just a year ago is now awake.

I think Senator Rielly summed it up best, “we (the Democrats) will likely face” repercussions.

– Nik Rule



1. amanda - April 13, 2009

Thanks for reporting to the rest of us in these legislators’ districts and holding their feet to the fire.

Keep up the good work!

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