State legislators of both political parties say they’re prepared to do what’s necessary to protect the American flag. A judge ruled Wednesday that the state law which forbids misuse and desecration of the flag is too vague and cannot be enforced.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs is among those encouraging Iowa’s Attorney General to appeal the ruling. “We are also more than willing to look at recrating legislation if we identify significant defects in our current law,” Gronstal says. “Pending an appeal, we might be willing to look at changing that law.”
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says a small group of GOP legislators are crafting a bill to respond to the ruling. “You can count on House Republicans to, if need be, hold up this session to get that issue corrected,” Rants says.
Gronstal says he and his fellow Democrats are also interested in doing whatever necessary. “Iowans treasure our flag and we want to make sure it’s protected and discourage anybody from desecrating the flag,” Gronstal says. The portion of the state law which was struck down by the judge would have charged a person with a simple misdemeanor for “knowingly and publicly” using the flag in a disrespectful way.
The Iowa Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of two men who were charged with flag desecration, but the charges were later dismissed. An Ottumwa man wrote “corruption of blood” on the flag in one act of protest. A Corydon man flew his flag upside down in protest.