Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vander Plaats Unveils Executive Order to Stay Same-Sex Marriages, Challenges Culver to ‘End ‘Irresponsible Silence, Take Action’

Attorney General’s Memo Ordering County Recorders to Issue Licenses Lacks Constitutional Authority

DES MOINES - Releasing the text of an executive order that would stay same-sex marriages and withstand a legal challenge, Bob Vander Plaats today called on Gov. Chet Culver to sign the order before county recorders are expected to issue marriage licenses on Monday.

"The governor’s acquiescence to a court opinion is tantamount to neglecting his constitutional responsibilities," Vander Plaats said at a Statehouse news conference. "Because he hasn’t been willing to do his job, we’ve done it for him. I have worked with a team of attorneys who understand the Iowa Constitution and the end product is an executive order that defends our constitution and defends the will of the people. It gives Governor Culver the opportunity to exercise the authority that only he has but his so far given away to the courts and Attorney General Tom Miller."

Vander Plaats noted that Miller’s April 8 memo directing county recorders to adhere to the Iowa Supreme Court’s April 3 opinion and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is "without constitutional basis."

"On April 15th, 1998 Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 382 into law after it passed the General Assembly as prescribed by law. According to the constitution, this is the only method by which laws and statutes in Iowa can be created. The constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power to write, amend or strike legislative law. Its opinion, to secure justice for the parties, should have been to refer the matter back to the Iowa General Assembly with the opinion that its members should either rewrite the law or bring it before a vote of the people of Iowa as a constitutional amendment to remedy the issue."

Vander Plaats continued, "Iowa’s 99 county recorders are caught between a rock and a hard place. They’re being threatened with legal action from our state attorney general if they don’t comply with a court opinion but that opinion does not carry constitutional weight to change our marriage laws. Governor Culver has a responsibility to take that burden off Iowa’s county recorders and issue a stay on same-sex marriages in Iowa until this matter can be resolved by the only two authorities in the state legally qualified to resolve it: The General Assembly or the people of Iowa."


Call and email Governor Chet Culver: Click on "Contact Us." It is here that you can email the governor. Also, call his office and leave a message 515-281-5211. Let Governor Culver know that you want him to sign the Executive Order putting a stay on the Supreme Court's ruling allowing the legislature time to do their job and let the people vote.

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