Iowa state Sen. Jack Hatch told Iowans that reelecting their Republican governor could halt marriage equality after same-sex couples have had the right to marriage there for more than five years.
Hatch, who is running against incumbent Gov. Terry Branstad, says there is no question that marriage equality would be at risk if Republicans win the November 4 elections. The Iowa House is already GOP-controlled and they are aiming for the majority in the Senate.
"It is very clear that will be their No. 1 priority and Iowans should be very skeptical of that," Hatch told The Des Moines Register. "People who believe in marriage equality should realize the rights we have in Iowa are only as good as the quality of our politicians and the words of our Constitution. If they want to change the words of our Constitution, we should be very scared of the agenda of the Republican leadership."
Branstad denied the claims that marriage equality would be on the chopping block if the GOP ran the Iowa government. Branstad said he agrees with calls for traditional marriage but won't be pushing for a constitutional amendment.
"It's a legislative matter," Branstad told WHO-TV. "I respect the legislators are the ones that are going to make a decision on this."
Branstad said it is up to the voters to decide who they send to represent their interests, which may be allowing Iowans to to vote on marriage equality.
"I'm running for reelection as governor of Iowa and I'm focusing on things that are important to the people of Iowa and that the governor has a role in," Branstad told Radio Iowa. "I do respect the fact that there are people who have strong views on this issue and that is not my responsibility."
Hatch countered to Radio Iowa, "Don't let him fool us that he doesn't have this authority. He does. He has the authority of the bully pulpit. I think he'll use it and, unfortunately, I think he'll use it in the wrong way."
The Iowa Supreme Courts unanimously ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Iowa was unconstitutional. In 2010, Branstad publicly called the court's ruling the 'wrong decision,' according to Radio Iowa.