In April 2009, Iowa’s Supreme Court unanimously overturned a 10-year-old ban on same-sex marriage. Although the far right claimed that this decision would upend traditional marriage, a September 2009 Des Moines Register poll found 92 percent of Iowans believed marriage equality had “brought no real change to their lives.” But now, Iowa state Sen. Merlin Bartz (R) is trying to convince the public that LGBT families threaten the institution of…camping. Radio Iowa explains why Bartz is so upset:
Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton, says it appears to him that the Department of Natural Resources wants to make gay couples eligible for family camping at state parks. “They’re citing the Supreme Court case and changing, you know, ‘husband and wife’ language to ’spouse,’” Bartz says.
The rates or fees for camp sites are the same, whether you’re a family or a non-family, but the state allows families to put up more than one tent on a camp site. “They’re changing their language even though the state legislature has not had a debate on this particular issue,” Bartz says. [...]
Bartz says he wants to be “vigilant” and keep state agencies from writing rules that extend new benefits to gay couples. “A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says. “The reality of it is that everything is changing.”
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has stated that the change isn’t in response to the state Supreme Court ruling, but to “comply with a state policy that prevents discrimination.” Radio Iowa explains, “The proposed rule will be formally presented to Bartz and the rest of the legislative panel on May10th, but the final draft won’t be up for a committee vote until later this summer.” Bartz has been a staunch opponent of marriage equality, last year calling on county recorders to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (HT: Towleroad)
One Iowa has a KAAL-TV report on the controversy.