PELLA — Gov. Kim Reynolds staked out a position Tuesday in favor of allowing Iowa voters to decide whether same-sex marriages should be legal, but later clarified she believes the issue has been settled and she has moved on.
During her weekly news conference, the governor was asked if she agreed with a Republican Party of Iowa platform plank calling for the repeal of same-sex marriages, which were ruled legal in 2009 by a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision that struck down as unconstitutional a state law defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Since then, opponents of same-sex marriage have tried unsuccessfully to bring an amendment before Iowa voters to write the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage into the Iowa Constitution.
Reynolds called the platform provision a “guideline” offered by grass-roots Republicans but “not something that every single candidate has to abide by. It’s kind of an overarching goal of what the party is working on,” she said.
Reynolds, who was sworn in as Iowa’s 43rd governor when Terry Branstad resigned the post in May 2017 to become U.S. ambassador to China, said her focus in seeking to be elected as governor is on “continuing to move this state forward.”
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As far as the same-sex marriage issue, “I think that that’s been determined,” Reynold said.
“People have traditional views on what they believe marriage consists of, and they have every right to have that,” she said. “But it was decided by the courts, and I said from the very beginning that my position has been that it probably should go to a vote of the people, and they should weigh in and then we would stop this back and forth.”
Later, Reynolds spokeswoman Brenna Smith issued a clarification to reporters, saying “the governor believes that this issue is settled. She has said in the past that the question should have gone to a vote of the people and that the courts were not necessarily the best place to settle the debate, but she now considers it a settled matter.”
Remi Yamamoto, communications director for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell’s campaign, said, “Fred is proud that Iowa’s Supreme Court led the way in defining equal protection later affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.”