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Gay Marriage Foe Challenges Iowa Campground Policy

Gay Marriage Foe Challenges Iowa Campground Policy


An Iowa state senator opposed to same-sex marriage wants to challenge a change in state parks policy that would extend family camping privileges to married gay couples.

Sen. Merlin Bartz has previously called for county recorders to defy last year's state supreme court ruling and deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now the Republican from Grafton wants to question a state parks proposal that would include gay families in guidelines that allow families to pitch more than one tent on a campsite.

According to Radio Iowa, "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 [Department of Natural Resources] 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.'"

The committee will consider the proposed rule Monday, but a vote on the final draft will not take place until later this summer. The committee could choose to delay a decision until 2011 so the full legislature can consider the proposal, reports Radio Iowa.

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