Branstad says Iowans can “make their own judgement” about same-sex marriage rulings

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa’s governor says it’s up to Iowans to “make their own judgement” about last week’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.

Republican Governor Terry Branstad was asked this morning at his weekly news conference whether the ruling was good or bad for Iowa. (Find the audio here.)

“We are going to live with the law and make whatever adjustments are necessary,” Branstad said.

The court struck down key provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, clearing the way for same-sex couples to file their federal income taxes as a married couple. Some state legislators say it means married, same-sex couples can file their Iowa income tax returns as a couple, but Governor Branstad said Iowa’s Department of Revenue is “carefully reviewing” that issue.

“That is one of many questions that need to be answered and I feel that the department will research and determine what is the appropriate determination of Iowa law in light of the Supreme Court decision,” Branstad said.

Same-sex couples have been marrying in Iowa since a 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling. Branstad’s 2010 Republican opponent Bob Vander Plaats has called for the GOP to elect legislators in 2014 who support traditional marriage, so they’d vote to schedule a statewide vote to ban same-sex marriage. Branstad said last week’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings have “some impacts” on people in “many different ways,” but refused to say whether the impact was good or bad.

“I guess it depends upon your perspective or your point of view on things,” Branstad told reporters, “and I guess people can make their own judgement on that.”

Since the 2010 campaign Branstad has said Iowans should have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Iowa, but he has not revealed how he would vote on that amendment. Branstad didn’t stray from that today either.

“Many states have, indeed, amended their constitution to provide for one-man/one-woman marriage,” Branstad said. “I’ve always felt that the people of Iowa should have an opportunity to vote on that issue.”

A group of Iowa Republicans — including a former Branstad staffer and the governor’s oldest son — met in Des Moines this winter with a national GOP leader who is encouraging the Republican Party to moderate its position on same-sex marriage.