The only openly gay member of the Iowa legislature marked the fourth anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage with a four-minute speech in the Iowa Senate.
Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, spoke during the period when senators are allowed to speak on any topic they choose.
“This is an exciting day for Iowans who have sought and obtained the freedom to marry who they love,” McCoy said.
On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering two same-sex marriage cases.
“I think all Iowans pray that the U.S. Supreme Court will share in the wisdom of the Iowa Supreme Court and embrace full equality for all,” McCoy said.
McCoy plans to attend today’s anti-bullying conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning Iowa students.
“This summit has received negative attention recently by a rogue group of individuals that promote lack of tolerance for others and I think it’s important today, as a legislature, that we mark this governor’s conference and prevention summit for bullying,” McCoy said.
The conservative Christian organization known as The Family Leader has criticized seminars at the conference which they say attack the Biblical and political views of opponents of same-sex marriage. Several Republican legislators have threatened to withhold taxpayer support of Des Moines Area Community College for donating a thousand dollars to the conference. The Family Leader has also called on Governor Branstad to withdraw his name as a sponsor of the event. McCoy praised the governor “for his courage” in allowing his name to be attached to the conference.
“And I denounce those that would criticize this effort to…create a safe environment for our students to go to school,” McCoy said.
Branstad last week told reporters he cannot comment on the controversy because he’s being sued. The state’s workers compensation commissioner alleges Branstad tried to force him out of his job because he’s gay. According to McCoy, “there is doubt” about the way Branstad and the governor’s top managers treat “employees who are openly gay.”
“It is time for the state of Iowa and the governor to recognized that prevention and anti-bullying should apply to state employees equally,” McCoy said.
Not a single Republican senator challenged McCoy’s speech, or his characterization of the governor’s actions towards gay employees.
AUDIO of McCoy’s four-minute-long “point of personal privilege” speech