Main | Friday, May 07, 2010

Iowa Sen. Merlin Bart: Gay Families Don't Deserve To Use State Parks

Iowa state Sen. Merlin Bartz wants to mark sure that state agencies don't extend right or privileges to gay couples, even though his state legalized same sex marriage last year. One the things Bartz wants to stop is the plan to allow gay couples to use the family campground portion of state parks.
The rates or fees for camp sites are the same, whether you’re a family or a non-family, but the state allows families to put up more than one tent on a camp site. “They’re changing their language even though the state legislature has not had a debate on this particular issue,” Bartz says. Bartz is a member of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee which meets on Monday. He’s asked D.N.R. officials to explain their proposal at that meeting. Bartz says he wants to be “vigilant” and keep state agencies from writing rules that extend new benefits to gay couples. “A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says. “The reality of it is that everything is changing.” Bartz concedes the D.N.R. might be sued if they fail to ensure “family” policies for camping apply to gay couples, although Bartz says the state may be sued by gay marriage opponents if the rule is changed.
The campground rule change will be voted on this summer. Why must it be VOTED on?

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