Thursday, April 09, 2009


If you're not from Iowa, this might seem a bit provincial. Or not; after all, we're kind of a big deal lately, since the state Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

To the surprise of many hardcore fundamentalists, fire did not fall from the sky, and our land, so far, has not been ravaged. If God intends to condemn this state as some sort of modern-day Sodom, He's certainly taking His time.

Oh, but I digress. What I meant to talk about was the response to the court's decision from our esteemed governor, Chet Culver. Culver's a Democrat, but Republicans have the same opinion of him as members of his own party: He's a prick.

Specifically, an arrogant, self-regarding prick who always tries to have it both ways. Nowhere is this more evident than in his response to the gay marriage ruling. Initially, he said nothing, then when he finally deigned to share his opinion with his constituents, it was predictably namby-pamby: He doesn't support gay marriage, he wanted to make clear, but he would be "reluctant" to amend the state constitution, though he's open to talking about amending the constitution, though he doesn't think it's necessary, since the court's ruling differentiates between civil marriage and religious marriage, which, he emphasizes, he's totally against in the case of same-sex couples, unless it becomes law, in which case, he's fine with it.

In fairness to Culver, cover-you-ass wording is the default move of most Democrats when the subject of gay marriage comes up. The refrain of "I'm personally opposed to gay marriage, but..." is so common, it makes you wonder how our current crop of legislators would have handled the Voting Rights Act: "Even though I personally believe Negroes are inferior to the white race, I will not oppose this if it becomes law."

If you're really opposed to gay marriage (and by the way: Why? How does the ability of two people to marry effect you one way or the other?), wouldn't you fight it tooth and nail, rather than bending over and letting this ruling have its way with you? (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) And if you're not opposed to it, if you in fact have every intention of letting it pass, why attach the qualifier? Why not just say, "Yeah, we as Iowans believe anybody should be allowed to express their love for each other, and that love should be protected legally. Furthermore, as the first Midwestern state to take this stand, we recognize that we'll reap the financial benefits from the flood of couples coming here to marry, and we'd be batshit insane to turn down that sweet, sweet money when the state is still trying to cover the costs of last spring's floods."

But Culver wouldn't say that in a million years. It's not that he lacks the courage of his convictions, it's that he lacks convictions in the first place. Bold action has no place in his world--he's a professional politician, after all. And a prick.