Former Governor Terry Branstad says he supports “traditional” marriage, but Branstad says he still “respects” other Republicans who support gay marriage.
A former Republican legislator who heads the Iowa Family Policy Center has it is “disturbing” that Branstad seems unwilling to distance himself from those who support gay marriage. Branstad describes himself as a “realist.”
“People are not interested in a governor that only wants confrontation. They want a governor that’s going to accomplish things and resolve problems,” Branstad says. “And some people maybe don’t understand that, but I’ve lived it and I know that you’ve got to do that sometimes.”
Former Lieutenant Governor Joy Corning, a Republican who was Branstad’s running mate in 1990 and 1994, recently recorded a telephone message in support of gay marriage, a message sent to Republican voters. Branstad says he’ll “fight” for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Iowa, but Branstad says he still “respects (Corning’s) point of view” on the issue.
“And I understand some people who are new to politics just don’t understand that,” Branstad says.
Democrats controlled the legislature for 10 of the 16 years Branstad served as governor, and Branstad says he learned how to build coalitions with politicians who held certain political beliefs that were different from his own.
“Just because somebody is your adversary on one issue, they may be your best ally on the next,” Branstad says.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats has criticized Branstad for being “lukewarm and politically cautious” when it comes to taking a stand on the gay marriage issue. In October, Branstad told a small group of conservatives that he did not intend to make gay marriage a central issue in his campaign for a fifth term.
During an interview this week with Radio Iowa, Branstad began his discussion of the gay marriage issue by stressing that as governor in 1998, he signed a bill which declared the only legal marriages in Iowa were those between a man and a woman. That’s the law the Iowa Supreme Court overturned.
“I think the court decision was wrong. I think the people should have an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to override that decision and 31 states have had that opportunity (to vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage). Every one of them — from Maine to California — has passed it,” Branstad said.