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Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who has been formally censured or sent letters of disapproval by about a dozen Iowa counties, remains defiant to the criticism from those who elected her.

Ernst joined the Dallas County Republican Central Committee for a video conference on Thursday and was pressed on some of her liberal votes.

Ernst was asked how she weighs the importance and priorities of her constituents and the state beliefs put forth in the Republican Party of Iowa platform prior to voting on legislation — such as the Respect for Marriage Act, Safer Communities Act and continuing appropriations to Ukraine while America is being invaded at the southern border.

Ernst never answered the question directly, instead pivoting to talking points about the bills.

“I actually do read the legislation,” she said.

She took issue with a claim that the Safer Communities Act triggers Red Flag laws. She said the bill doesn’t establish Red Flag laws.

“There are grant programs that exist within the Safer Communities Act, but it does not establish Red Flag laws, period,” she said.

She said states can enact Red Flag laws under the bill, but already have the right to do so.

“Iowa will choose likely never to enact a Red Flag law,” she said. “This federal bill does nothing to establish Red Flag laws.”

She said the bill allows states to decide if they will enact Red Flag laws and apply to the federal grant program to use that money in those Red Flag programs that they have to meet a higher standard of due process.

“There is a lot more to this bill,” she said. “People have honed in on Red Flag laws, but this bill doesn’t establish Red Flag laws. And so that’s one of those issues. The Respect for Marriage Act, I went through that, it’s a three-page bill and I hope that everybody goes and reads it because it only applies to government actors. It doesn’t apply to private entities. It doesn’t require that religious institutions recognize gay marriage.”

Ernst said America can do both things — prohibit Russia from taking Ukraine and dominating Europe while also defending the southern border.

“I think we can do both, we just have to stop spending on the climate agenda and all the other nonsense that Democrats are doing,” she said.

A couple questions later, Ernst was asked who created marriage.

“God created marriage,” Ernst said.

“OK, so then why did you think you needed to redefine it,” the constituent asked.

“I did not redefine it,” Ernst said.

“Yes you did,” the constituent said.

“No, um, marriage and again going back to the Respect for Marriage Act, again, I am part of the federal government and this is not providing, again, please read the bill, it’s a three-page bill,” she said.

“I’ve read it,” the constiuent said.

“It does not provide a federal right of same-sex marriage,” Ernst said.

The constituent asked Ernst to explain where the Senate got the constitutional authority to even discuss marriage.

“That’s not covered in the Constitution at all,” he said.

Ernst said it is not covered under the Constitution.

“But through the years, and it wasn’t established by me, the government did take action when it applied to marriage,” she said. “so, if you look at tax provisions. If you look at other federal govenrment regulations that, well, you know go into tax credits, so forth, insurance, you name it, it deals with marriage. That is left up to the states. And this does that. It does not provide a federal right for same-sex marriage, but we will respect the states’ rights.”

The constituent said states have a right to nullify it because it is an unconstitutional law.

“Exactly,” Ernst said. “So then my question back is that if you have been so upset about Iowa having same-sex marriage, why is it that since the Obergefell decision and some of the other decisions that have been made, why isn’t it that Iowa, which is controlled by an all-Republican House and Senate with a Republican governor, if it is so upsetting, why has it not been overturned?”

The constituent told Ernst the Defense of Marriage Act is law in Iowa and has never been repealed.

“And what happened with Obergefell, is that it nullified the, um, DOMA, essentially stripping it because of the 14th Amendment due process as well as equal protection under the law,” Ernst said. “So DOMA essentially has been stripped of any enforcement mechanism by the 14th Amendment and Obergefell. So why is it then, now I’m being the target because I’m saying we’re not going to provide a federal right of same-sex marriage, it’ll be up to the states.”

That was the end of the discussion.


  1. Ernst’s vote on the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”, and her subsequent defense of that vote, are proof of her disregard for our Constitution or her ignorance of it.

    The United States Constitution has three amendments germane to this legislation.

    The Second Amendment to the Constitution:
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution :

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    I am saddened, dismayed and angered that these basic Freedoms of American Citizens have been so cavalierly disregarded, and indeed infringed upon by Senator Ernst.

    Red Flag laws violate all three of these Constitutional Rights. The BSCA allows for federal funding of Red Flag Laws for states that choose to implement them.

    Senator Ernst goes on to say that such laws “most likely” will never be implemented in Iowa.
    This is an outrageous statement, and a dangerous gamble with the Rights of Iowans. All that would be needed is a Democrat majority to control the legislature and a Democrat governor to sign the bill, and Iowa could indeed have red flag laws.

    Moreover, regardless of whether Iowans suffer under red flag laws or not, other American Citizens living under Democrat control most certainly will, and the BSCA ensures their funding with federal tax dollars. Senator Ernst swore an oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution, not just Iowans or the Republican Party. She has shamefully violated that oath.


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