Same-sex marriage was one subject of Thursday’s debate between two candidates for state senate in Linn County. Liz Mathis, a Democrat and former TV anchor in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, says the issue of gay marriage has already been decided by the state’s highest court.
“I do not support discrimination,” Mathis says. “I do support the Iowa State Supreme Court appellate decision supporting gay marriage. If you read Varnum v. Brien, it is constitutionally sound.” Republican Cindy Golding, a farmer and businesswoman, says the Iowa Senate should let the people of Iowa have a say in the matter.
Golding says, “Until we allow the citizens of Iowa to vote on this issue and the citizens of Iowa to vote it up or vote it down, it will continue to take all of the political attention and energy off of other issues.”
Democrats currently have the majority of seats in the Iowa Senate and if this seat goes to Golding, a Republican, power will be evenly divided at 25 seats for each party. Golding says an equal split in the Iowa Senate would kick start legislation.
“Whether it be gay marriage, whether it be economic improvement, whether it be property tax reform, whatever the issue is has been stalled,” Golding says. “Eighty-three-percent of the legislation passed through the House this year, bipartisan legislation, was stalled in the Senate.”
Democrats, like Mathis, say a split senate could mean either party can veto any issue they don’t want to debate. “You want to see progress, not politics,” Mathis says. “I’m going to try my hardest to do that. As a freshman senator, I hope I can use some of the community leadership that I’ve found here and extend that as we go into the state capitol.”
A third party candidate, Jon Tack, participated in the debate as well. He’s a Navy veteran and a calls himself a Constitutionalist. The special election will be held on November 8th.