The race between Burgmeier and Democrat Curt Hanson to fill the seat left open when Democratic Rep. John Whitaker accepted President Obama’s appointment to serve as the Iowa director of the Farm Service Agency, could lead to a showdown on same-sex marriage in Iowa if Burgmeier is victorious.
Burgmeier, the Republican candidate in the special election and Jefferson County Supervisor, became known this past spring after he called for resolution to forbid Jefferson County Officials from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples soon after the Iowa Supreme Court’s issued its opinion upholding a lower court’s decision that granted marriage equality in that state.
But when Iowa State Attorney General Tom Miller said he would remove from office any county official that did not follow the courts ruling, Burgmeier backed off, and instead helped pass a resolution in April that called on state legislators to stand against marriage equality. The board passed the resolution unanimously, although its impact was largely symbolic because refusing to issue a civil marriage license is not an option for county recorders.
Gay rights group One Iowa issued an “Extreme Right Watch” about Burgmeier when he announced his intentions to run, saying he hopes to “undermine the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision that everyone in Iowa deserves equal protection under the law.” They also asked members to support Hansen’s candidacy.
The special election is September 1, 2009.