More than one week after 19-year-old Marcellus Andrews was fatally beaten by a group of baseball thugs shouting anti-gay slurs in Waterloo, Iowa, the state's Republican governor finally has something to say.
A reporter said the homicide could have been related to the sexual orientation of the victim, then asked Branstad what his role was as governor to control the tenor of the debate over gays rights, given the heat of the controversy over the marriage issue here.
Branstad answered: "The fact of the matter is, we need to protect the health, safety and well-being of all the citizens, regardless – if somebody is murdered, it needs to be investigated and prosecuted and people held responsible for it."
"But I see no link whatsoever and I think it’s inappropriate to try to blame people that are not associated with having committed a crime. I think we need to focus on the people who committed the crime and they need to be brought to justice.:
Marriage equality has been legal since a 7-0 Iowa Supreme Court ruling in April 2009. Republican legislators have attempted to amend the state constitution aganst marriage and civil unuions. The GOP has also sought to impeach the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who issued the landmark ruling.
Detectives believe college student Marcellus Andrews was beaten with a baseball bat by a group of teens on Friday, August 19. The teen had "severe head injuries" and was removed from life support two days later.
Police insist this was "not" a hate crime. They confirm that suspects have been identified, but despite eyewitness reports, there have been "no arrests" and no warrants have been sought.