Perhaps overshadowing the SCC elections, the biggest news out of the 1st District Convention Saturday was the platform. I have to tell you that the platform has always been near and dear to my heart. For over twenty years I have served on and chaired numerous County, District and State platform Committees. I even had the opportunity to represent Iowa at the 2008 Republican National Platform Committee in Minneapolis. Over those years, I have spent many a night up until 3 or 4am working with the committee to hash out a statement of principles for the Republican Party. I believe that it was 1998 while serving as the secretary of the State Platform Committee, Chuck Hurley was chair — that in compiling and organizing the planks from the 5 districts I unilaterally created a section in the platform called Right to Life. Until that time, pro-life planks were in the Health and Human Services section of the platform. I wanted to make sure that when future platform committees met, they would not ask the question ‘Are we pro-life’. I wanted future committees to ask ‘How can we best articulate our pro-life position?’
So the news out of the 1st District Convention in Cedar Rapids is that there is no plank supporting or defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Instead there is a plank saying that the government should stay out of marriage.
I do not have the precise wording of the actual plank but I will update this post as soon as I get it.
[[Update: I now have the wording of the plank]]
We support the removal of institution of marriage from government control.
Kevin Hall at The Iowa Republican wrote:
So, who pushed this amendment? Well, its biggest supporter would seem to be Big Liberty acolyte and current SCC member Tony Krebsbach. He was one of the many SCC members who failed to get reelected Saturday …
While Kevin’s statement is factual — the truth is a bit more complicated. As a result of this perception, many have accused Tony of being a supporter of Homosexual Unions (I don’t even like the term Gay Marriage) . While I (if I am to believe social media) am an old white male moderate statist un-principled establishment lapdog of Congressman King and Governor Branstad who just wants to see young people marginalized in the party — Tony is (also from social media) an independent liberty-minded principled constitutionalist Christian who speaks for the grassroots. The point is that Tony and I are from different camps within the party. But we both share a deep Christian faith and along with it a reverence for God’s Word as expressed in the Bible and a belief that God defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
I chaired the 1st District Rules Committee, so I was not present during the Platform Committee meetings. At the convention, I served as Parliamentarian during the platform debate so I did not have an opportunity to speak from the floor on this issue. Before writing this post, I reached out to Tony and he graciously shared the back story with me.
This year, an attempt was made in several counties to shorten and simplify the platform. To make it a statement of principles with perhaps a few legislative priorities attached. Personally, I am less concerned about the format of the platform than I am about its content.
In the platform committee multiple attempts to add a pro-marriage plank failed. Tony only proposed the government-out-of-marriage plank because he did not want the platform to be silent on the issue. In the committee, Tony wanted a pro-marriage plank included. So in the committee (and on the convention floor) he wanted a pro-marriage plank to appear in the platform as it has for several years. As a compromise, he proposed the current plank taking the more libertarian position.
One of the truly curious aspects of this story is that the government-out-of-marriage plank did not make it into the printed version of the proposed platform that was distributed to delegates. When the platform committee met over the lunch hour, they realized the omission and purposed to add the missing plank. During the platform debate the platform committee chair, Tim Busch, announced that a plank had been omitted and since it was approved by the committee it would simply be added to the document. The convention went then defeated the first of three pro-marriage planks that were submitted as amendments to the platform.
As parliamentarian, I told Tim that the best way to resolve the missing plank issue would be to allow the body to debate it and vote on it like any other amendment. This would be fair because the body did not have the opportunity to see the plank in advance and file amendments to modify or delete it. This is where Tony spoke from the floor in favor of this plank. Tony also signed all three of the proposed pro-marriage planks that were submitted that day.
During voting on one of the pro-marriage planks Judd Saul of Black Hawk County started yelling trying to get delegates to vote in favor of the plank, but to no avail. [[Judd I agree with you, but as parliamentarian my job was to advise the chairman and the body on the rules —I am the one who suggested to the chairman that you should be called to order.]]
This issue is one that has my head spinning. Liberty folk around the state are pointing their fingers at the 1st District and saying ‘see the establishment has no principles’ because they adopted the Libertarian (live and let live and keep the government out of it) position. Likewise they criticize the establishment for ignoring young people yet this is one of the biggest issues that keeps young people out of the Republican Party. In fact, the body allowed a junior delegate to speak on the issue and he told us so.
I am rambling again. Tony Krebsbach and I differ on a number of issues. I ran against him Saturday as I did in 2014 for SCC but he’s a stand up guy and it is both unfair and inaccurate to suggest that he is a supporter of homosexual unions.
I understand that traditional marriage is probably a losing issue today. 2010 when the Family Leader led a successful effort to not retain three of the justices who approved Varnum was ages ago. A similar effort to remove Justice Wiggins in 2012 failed. Even so, I am confident that the State Platform will have such a plank — if not I will be one of those fighting to get one included.