Governor Chet Culver says now is not the time to over-react to an Iowa Supreme Court ruling which said a lesbian had the right to seek custody and visitation rights for a child she adopted with her partner from whom she had separated. Opponents of gay marriage see today’s ruling on this custody case as an indication the Iowa Supreme Court will uphold a lower court’s ruling which briefly legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa, but Culver suggests that’s jumping to conclusions.
"I think we have to let the judicial branch work through these cases and as a former government teacher and as governor I have a lot of respect for the judicial process. We shouldn’t tamper with it," Culver says. "Let them do their work and then we can respond and react if we need to."
Culver says he supports "traditional marriage" between one man and one woman, but he is not among those who say it’s time to let Iowans vote on an amendment to the state constitution which would ban gay marriage. "There have been many examples of when the judicial branch has ultimately made a decision and the legislature has moved quickly," Culver says. "We recently did that on flag burning."
Culver is citing the recent Iowa Supreme Court case which ruled Iowa’s law banning flag burning was unconstitutional. The Iowa Legislature quickly passed a bill which rewrote the provisions of that law to try to respond to the court’s opinion on the flag burning case. "And I think that’s probably what will happen if they say this law is unconstitutional," Culver says. "We’ll do whatever it takes to protect marriage between a man and a woman."
According to Culver, all sorts of options are "on the table" but first, he says, lawmakers need to wait for the court to issue its ruling.