Governor Culver has said he’s "reluctant" to support an amendment to the state’s constitution which would ban gay marriage, but the governor is open to the idea of a "constitutional convention" which would allow for consideration of a variety of amendments to the state’s constitution.
Culver, who is a Democrat, suggests that’s an avenue gay marriage opponents might pursue in 2010. "The voters will certainly have an opportunity to weigh in on this," Culver says.
Culver says a variety of amendments might be explored at a constitutional convention, such as amendments to protect seniors or advance the causes of working men and women, teachers and veterans.
"The question about a constitutional convention is much broader than this one issue, so I’m very interested in talking to Iowans, talking to legislators about whether or not they want to go through a constitutional convention," Culver says. "We have not had once in 1857 and we’ll see what the people of Iowa have to say about that big question that will be on the ballot."
Culver says he believes marriage should be between one man and woman but the governor remains reluctant to support an amendment which would ban gay marriage in Iowa as a means of reacting to last Friday’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling which paved the way for same-sex marriage in the state.
"With respect to amending the constitution, I am reluctant to support amending it in such a way that this court has said would amendment unlawful under the current constitution and discriminatory," Culver says.
Current Iowa law allows anyone to obtain a marriage license in Iowa which means same-sex couples from other states may come here to marry. Some legislators want to change state law so marriage license applicants must prove they’re Iowa residents and Culver isn’t ruling that out.
"I think those ideas should be vetted through the legislative process," Culver says. "We’ve got a week or so left in the session and I’m open to talking to legislators about any legislation."
Culver issued a written statement on Tuesday afternoon outlining his views on the gay marriage issue, four days days after the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling which legalized same-sex marriage. Today, Culver spoke to statehouse reporters and defended that four-day delay.
"You know, this decision took more than four months to come down from the court. I think it’s appropriate to take as much time as necessary, and in my case about four days, to thoroughly read the decision," Culver said. "I encourage all Iowans to read it. It’s 69 pages long."
The governor said it would have been a mistake for him to issue a "knee jerk reaction" immediately after the ruling was announced last Friday.
You can listen to all of what Culver had to say today about the issue by clicking on the audio link below.