Iowa Hopes for Gay Marriage 'Wake Up Call'

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Traditional marriage supporters argue that recent court decisions in the gay marriage debate are shoving the idea of "government by the people" to the back shelf.

From New England to the West Coast, both sides refuse to be silenced. The role judges are playing in the fight has many voters crying "tyranny."

Intense Confrontations

Recently, aggressive protestors pushing for homosexual marriage stormed the podium at an event in Providence, R.I., trying to shout down National Organization for Marriage Executive Director Brian Brown.

State police eventually brought order to the rally, where organizers say the protesters even tried to intimidate children attending with their parents.

"To have protestors storm the stage and start screaming in our faces, to have them threatening nursing mothers and children, shouting at a pastor as he's trying to pray, really was unbelievable," Brown told CBN News.

Brown witnessed intense confrontations as his organization began its "Summer for Marriage" bus tour in July. The traditional marriage campaign made stops at 23 sites across the nation, including in Iowa -- the state some call "ground zero" of the gay marriage debate.

"This is a battle for your future as Americans, for your future as a society and for your future someday when you stand before the Throne," Tamara Scott, executive director of Concerned Women for America of Iowa, told rally participants in Des Moines.

Law from the Courts

Last year, a unanimous decision by Iowa's Supreme Court to uphold same-sex marriage thrust the state into the heart of the debate.

Supporters of marriage between one man and one woman see the decision not as law, but as another example of the tyranny of judicial activism. Those pushing to override the court's decision say it goes against God's plan for marriage, current Iowa law, and the state's founding documents.

"The courts cannot make law," Iowa Family Policy Center president Chuck Hurley said. "The legislative function is for the legislature."

"It's human nature to think that each time the court acquires for itself more power that was never granted to it through the Constitution, that that emboldens them to then go and take more," added Bryan English, a representative for the Iowa Family Policy Center. "If we don't fight this fight now, then all of our liberties are up for grabs."

Same-sex marriage opponents are now urging voters to oust the judges who ruled in favor of redefining marriage.

"We need to be voting 'no' on these judges," Scott said. "All of the judges were unanimous. The decision is simple. Just say no."

Those in favor of traditional marriage have also started a "LUV Iowa" campaign, in hopes of prompting state legislators to approve a vote on gay marriage. "LUV" stands for "Let us vote!"

In all 31 states where the definition of marriage was on the ballot, voters chose traditional marriage each time.

"Marriage is the fundamental building block of society," Brown said. "You redefine it; it affects all of us. It affects what's taught in the schools. It affects the way religious organizations are treated."

The Other Side

Homosexual marriage supporters protested the rally at the state capitol in Des Moines, although the event remained peaceful.

"They're talking about fighting for something that they strongly believe in and that's what we're doing here," same-sex marriage supporter Joey Cosenza said at the demonstration.

Those in favor of gay marriage don't see a problem with courts making the final decision.

"It's not your place to vote on it," Cosenza added. "I mean I'm not voting on your marriage. Why should you vote on mine?"

"We've had 2,500 people come in and get married, so it's been great for the state," added Caroline Jenison, executive director of the gay rights group One Iowa.

Waking Up Iowa, America

Independent candidate for Iowa governor Jonathan Narcisse warns Iowans not to dismiss a vote by the people.

"Judicial tyranny, whether it rules in my favor or against me, is unacceptable, and what people need to understand, even gay activists, is that if the courts can seize power for them, they can seize power against them," Narcisse told CBN News.

"We must send a message to the judicial branch that in Iowa, our constitution plainly says that all political power rests within the people of Iowa, not within the courts," Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace said.

Although the name "Iowa" is said to have originated from a word meaning "asleep," organizers of the "Summer for Marriage" tour want Iowans and Americans as a whole to wake up and stand for marriage between one man and one woman. Their goal is to collect 2 million signatures from voters who uphold traditional marriage.

"The other side is counting on us going to sleep -- going back home and becoming complacent," Iowa Family Policy Center board Chairman Danny Carroll said. "We need to let them know that we will stand for marriage as long as it takes."

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Mark Martin

Mark Martin

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.