A woman who served as Iowa’s lieutenant governor for eight years is speaking out in support of gay marriage.
Joy Corning has recorded a message that you may hear on your home answering machine soon if you’re a Republican voter. Corning closes the 30-second recorded message by asking Republicans to help ensure Iowa moves forward in the fight for “fairness and equality” for same-sex couples.
“Iowa has a well-deserved reputation for being open minded and fair,” Corning says in the message. “…Our Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of civil marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples, continuing Iowa’s tradition of protecting the civil rights of all Iowans.”
Opponents of gay marriage are pushing the state legislature to pass a resolution which would let voters consider a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Iowa. Corning says while “opponents of gay marriage may be the most vocal,” she believes for the majority of Iowans, gay marriage has had no impact on their lives. Same-sex marriage has been legal here for about six months.
“I made the recording with the idea of having people give some thought to this issue,” Corning said during an interview with Radio Iowa.
By mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Corning had received one voice mail message from a man who said he objects to gay marriage on religious grounds. Corning is a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines which allows gay and lesbian couples to marry in the church if they are church members or the child of a church member. Corning says her faith plays a role in her “commitment to equality” and her respect for those who hold views different from her own.
“Our motto is: ‘We agree to differ. We resolve to love and we unite to serve,” Corning said of Plymouth Church. “And I like to keep that in mind as I make various decisions.”
Corning said she doesn’t know whether her decision to be an outspoken supporter of gay marriage will make life more difficult for former Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad chose Corning as his lieutenant governor running mate in 1990 and again in 1994.
“Governor Branstad and I were in office for eight years together and though we had differing viewpoints on some of the social issues, we agreed on basic Republican principles,” Corning told Radio Iowa, “which sometimes these days I think people have strayed from those traditional principles from Lincoln’s time and have concentrated on social issues.”
The Iowa Family Policy Center issued a strong statement, saying Corning did not represent “Iowa values” and that she holds views which “advance the destruction of the family.” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued a statement, saying Corning is entitled to her opinion, but, according to Vander Plaats, “she is the one who is outside of the mainstream.”