A group pushing for a ban on gay marriage in Iowa is targeting the president of the Iowa Senate, accusing him of flip-flopping on the issue.
The Iowa Family Policy Center has helped establish 37 “Let Us Vote” or LUV chapters around the state, made up of people who want a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Tom Nichols of Klemme is part of a LUV chapter and he spoke last week during a statewide event in Des Moines.
“There is one senator in north central Iowa who is getting sick and tired of LUV Iowa, I want to tell you that right now,” Nichols told the crowd. “For those of you who want to write it down — www.jackkibbie.com. He’s got a little video up about him. He’s going to have some more in a couple of days. We’re going to keep reminding him that he said he was in support of marriage and family and he ain’t doing nothing about it.”
Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, is president of the state senate and Nichols argues Kibbie should be able to do more to help set up the statewide vote on a constitutional amendment. “We want to vote on this issue…because we believe we should follow the laws of nature and nature’s God, that no judge in Des Moines can tell us what marriage is, that God has already established that,” Nichols said.
This past weekend the group distributed fliers in Kibbie’s hometown of Emmetsburg. Kibbie has been carrying a copy in his suit coat pocket.
“They didn’t leave one on my house, but from one end of the town to the other,” Kibbie said during an interview at the statehouse. “They even wrapped them in plastic so they wouldn’t get wet.”
A special petition was printed on the back of the flier. It’s a petition senators can sign to bring a resolution out of committee and place it on the senate’s debate calendar.
“Even if I signed that petition that everybody’s raising hell about, that just gets it to the (debate) calendar and Senator Gronstal’s not going to bring it up,” Kibbie said. “I understand where they’re coming from. As president of the senate they think I have the authority and the power to control that agenda, which I don’t have.” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs has repeatedly said he will not allow a vote on the issue this year.
Kibbie is making no apologies, as he suggests signing that petition would be pointless since Gronstal is blocking a vote in the full senate. “My position hasn’t changed in years, that I’ll vote to give the people a chance to vote on a straight-up vote, but I’m not voting for any procedural withdrawals or motions that are more politically-initiated than they are on the issue, in my opinion,” Kibbie said.
“LUV Iowa” activists have attended Kibbie’s weekend forums in places like Spencer, Estherville, Algona and Humboldt, accusing him of “back-peddling” on the gay marriage issue. “I don’t see it that way,” Kibbie said.
Kibbie was a tank commander in the Korean War and he suggests that at the age of 80, he’s not worried about this latest political attack. “I’ve been shot at with bigger guns than that,” Kibbie said, with a laugh.
A billboard, pictured above, has been erected on Highway 169 in Algona, touting the group’s website. This past weekend Kibbie received phone calls from people from as far away as Illinois who were urging him to do more to set up a statewide vote on gay marriage. Kibbie’s not budging.
“I’ve always been involved in controversial issues,” Kibbie said. “If you’re going to avoid controversial issues, you should not be here.”
Kibbie served eight years in the Iowa legislature in the 1960s, then returned to the state senate in 1989. In 2008, Kibbie was reelected to a seventh consecutive term as a state senator. That term will expire in 2012.