King, Ernst address same-sex marriage during local stops
U.S. Rep. Steve King called for civil disobedience and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst said the Supreme Court "got that one wrong" in the aftermath of a June 26 ruling that blocks states from banning same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriages have been available in Iowa since 2009, when a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalized the unions. Iowa was the fourth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.
"The 2009 decision of the Iowa Supreme Court was a heavy blow to us here in Iowa," King said July 1 as part of a visit to the Spirit Lake area. "We're a microcosm of the blow the nation took on Friday (June 26)."
He later added: "It's such a reach from what the Constitution says and the Constitution has to mean what it says."
King said the 5-4 ruling came from judges who weren't elected and will be "protected for life from accountability" for the decisions they make.
"And two of the five have been conducting same-sex marriages in their spare time," he said. "They should have recused themselves and they should have stepped down from the bench. If that's the case, we would have had a 4-3 decision the other way and we would have all said, 'well, that's the law of the land.'"
King said marriage between a man and a woman has thousands of years of human history that spans across culture and across the globe.
"I think that it's time now, if we don't see the civil disobedience across the country of a nation that rejects this decision just out-of-hand and refuses to comply with it -- as we should have when they outlawed prayer in the public school back in 1963 -- then our next alternative is to go into the states, state by state, and simply abolish civil marriage. Let the marriage go back to the churches where it began and support it through the churches where we should, and in doing so, we can preserve marriage for what it is rather than what the Supreme Court has decided what it will be."
The Congressman anticipated litigation that would try to force all of the churches to conduct same-sex marriages as well.
"It's a fact of history that children do better in a home with a mom and a dad," King said. "There's no better way to impart our values from one generation to the next than a mother and father who are committed to each other and that are blessed with children in a natural union. The father pours the best of what he has into that and the mother pours the best of what she has into that. The combination that comes out of that for the next generation -- at least in theory -- is better than the previous generation. They contribute more to society. They're better behaved, their faith is stronger, their education gets a little better -- all of these things are the product of a nuclear family. The civil government got into the business of promoting and supporting Holy Matrimony because these basic values are the building block of our civilization. Now, the Supreme Court has ruled that they're not. Their ruling really says anybody can marry anybody -- and eventually it will be in any combination. I had a strong, Christian lawyer tell me yesterday (Tuesday, June 30) that, under this decision that he has read, what it brings about is: It only requires one human being in this relationship -- that you could marry your lawnmower with this decision. I think he's right."
U.S. Sen. Ernst focused on state's rights with her reaction to the ruling. She toured the Polaris Industries plant June 29 in Spirit Lake.
"I do respect the Supreme Court and the justices, but I disagree with the decision," Ernst said . "I do believe in a traditional one-man, one-woman marriage, but I think that it is something that should be left up to the state. I am a huge proponent of states' rights. Here in Iowa, that decision has been made through the Supreme Court ruling we had here in Iowa."
KING CALLS AVIAN FLU 'WORST LIVESTOCK SITUATION' EVER
U.S. Rep. Steve King's private tour at the Rosenboom custom crafted cylinder company July 1 in Spirit Lake also gave the Congressman a chance to once again express concern about the avian flu virus.
"This hit around the 12th of April when the first poultry in Iowa was infected with bird flu. It wasn't very long before we had an epidemic on our hands," he said. "This is the worst livestock disease situation that we have ever had in the history of this country and the USDA wasn't prepared for anything of this magnitude. They didn't have the system in place to deal with this and, consequently, we have a lot of backups."
Birds were composting for way too long because of the slow USDA response, according to King. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey's office said commercial laying and pullet facilities were depopulated near the end of June. The facilities are being cleaned and disinfected and the state has completed bird disposal.
"We're at, I believe 33.6 million dead birds altogether -- about 1.6 million of that are turkeys," King said. "About 32 million of that are laying hens. The industry has been devastated, so we need to get all of the cleanup done. We need to get the buildings sanitized, we need to get the areas certified to be disease-free and then get them stocked back up again."
King said his heart goes out to the producers.
"My thanks go out to all of the people who help to clean it up. One day, we'll be back up and running again, but it's a multi-billion-dollar blow to the producers, to the industry and also to the consumers who have seen egg prices go up by more than double."
King said his tour of Rosenboom gives him important perspective as he shapes tax and regulatory policy.
"If I drive by, read the one-page white paper or I talk to somebody on the phone, it's a long way away from being the same," King said. "We never really know what's going to pop up that we can actually help with and make a difference."