Over 500 Iowans gathered on the steps of the Iowa statehouse over the noon hour with a rallying cry of "Let Us Vote!" The group seeks an amendment to the state constitution which would ban gay marriage in Iowa.
For that to happen, the Iowa House and Senate would have to approve a resolution this year, and next year, in order to put the issue on the ballot in the November 2010 general election.
Iowa Family Policy Council president Chuck Hurley began the rally with prayer, asking God to provide wisdom to the seven justices on the Iowa Supreme Court who are pondering a gay marriage case. "Thank you for the chance in America to speak to our lawmakers — our hired public servants, Father," Hurley said. "…And God, I pray that all eternity would be different because of what would happen here today. In Jesus name, Amen."
Hurley cast the debate over gay marriage in stark terms. "This is not Democrat versus Republican. This is not Protestant versus Catholic. This is not white versus black. At its core this a battle of good versus evil, truth versus lies," Hurley said. "This is at its core a moral and a spiritual battle."
Four pastors spoke to the assembly. Reverend Keith Ratliff of Des Moines was first and he shed his black coat to reveal to the crowd that he was wearing the signature color of the day. "Never ask a black Baptist preacher: Do you have anything red in your closet?" Ratliff said to the crowd, which broke into laughter, applause and shouts when he revealed his long red jacket, matching red slacks and red alligator shoes.
Ratliff then revved up the crowd. "God made it plain in dealing with marriage (it should be) between one man and one woman," Ratliff said. "Isn’t that right?" Many in the crowd replied: "Yes."
Ratliff then led the crowd in a chant: "Would you repeat after me: one man, one woman! One man, one woman! One man, woman! Give yourselves a hand." The crowd broke out in applause.
"Marriage between one man and one woman to us likeminded believers is not only holy, but I believe that this issue of same-sex marriage could be the defining moral issue of the 21st century," Ratliff said.
A woman who pastors a Spanish-speaking congregation spoke to the crowd followed by a Catholic priest, Monsignor Frank Chiodo of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Des Moines. "We have come to a crossroads in our state’s history," Chiodo said. "Some would have take us down the roadway which leads us to believe that we can change the definition of marriage without that change leading us to the destruction of marriage itself."
Chiodo warned of "dire consequences" if the sanctity of traditional marriage is abandoned. "To tamper with it is to tamper with the power of evil," Chiodo said.
Pastor Dan Berry of Cornerstone Family Church in Des Moines was the rally’s closer. "Lost, disillusioned and deceived people have tried to redefine the institution of marriage for centuries if not for millenniums and they have lost," Berry said. "And they will lose again."
Berry led the crowd in cheers directed at the legislators inside the statehouse. "Please let the people of Iowa vote," Berry said. "Let us vote." The crowd repeated the refrain.
The group concluded its rally with a march to the steps of the Iowa Judicial Building where they prayed.
You may listen to the entire rally by clicking on the audio link below.