Yesterday, Ed Fallon, a former legislator from Des Moines, filed a formal ethics complaint against Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton who has urged county recorders to defy the state Supreme Court's April 3 decision that legalized gay marriage, reports the Des Moines Register.
Fallon claims Bartz has violated his oath of office by urging county recorders to break the law.
“It's really important that state lawmakers respect their oath of office and we have really serious questions about whether that's happening in this case,” he said.
On Tuesday, Bartz attempted to give shelter to county recorders by introducing an amendment that would allow county recorders who objected to gay marriage to refuse to issue a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples on “conscientious” grounds. Senate leaders ruled the issue out of order and it was not debated.
Bartz is also supporting a petition drive by the Iowa Family Policy Center, the state's primary anti-gay marriage group, that urges country recorders to ignore the court's ruling.
Fallon's complaint questions if Republican legislative staffers were used to develop a website dedicated to promoting the petition.
State Attorney General Tom Miller has repeatedly warned country recorders that they cannot refuse to issue a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. A position Bartz criticized in a press release titled Bartz To AG: Stop The Hypocrisy.