The Iowa House today, by a vote of 62-37, passed an amendment (House Joint Resolution 6) that would deny any form of legal recognition for gay couples. The amendment seeks to prohibit not only the freedom to marry for gay couples, but also civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The bill now moves on to the Iowa Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment. If passed through both legislative bodies in two consecutive General Assemblies, the issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2013.
“The proposed amendment devalues families and divides Iowans,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “The Constitution is meant to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Iowans. It is inappropriate to use the political process to single out and deny a group of Iowans of their constitutional protections.”
“This goes beyond politics,” said Iowa City resident Katie Imborek. “This is about our family and the ability for Paula and me to care for one another and our two children. At a time when so many Iowans are struggling just to make ends meet, I don’t understand why legislators would choose to take up this issue.”
“From a business perspective, we do have a history of civility, tolerance and respect for the individual. I believe these same values mark the path to economic recovery,” said Suku Radia, CEO and President of Bankers Trust.
I think Blender Zack Ford summed up my thoughts about this news.
Hey Iowans, if you can just amend a constitution because you don’t agree with it, you didn’t respect it to begin with. http://bit.ly/ecP4qr
Lambda Legal’s response:
“Today’s vote is a shameful attack on same-sex couples and their children. History won’t look kindly on the politicians who voted today to attack committed Iowa couples and their kids across the state who merely want their government to continue to treat them equally.
“The backers of this measure know that non-gay Iowans’ lives have not changed in the slightest since same-sex couples gained equal access to marriage almost two years ago. After hours of testimony and debate in the House, the message that rings loud and clear is the love, responsibility, and commitment voiced by same-sex couples and their families who are the only ones whose lives are directly affected by their ability to marry.
“Iowa gay and lesbian couples and their children aren’t going away. They have survived cheap political attacks in the past. While days like today are tough, Iowa families take comfort in the fact that in the past, Iowans have rejected calls to put discrimination into Iowa’s constitution, which has lived up to its promise of equality for everyone for generations. Iowans have a proud tradition of standing up for civil rights, often long before it is popular, and we believe that Iowa voters have no interest in changing their constitution to slam the door on Iowa same-sex couples and their families.
…>According to the Des Moines Register, more than 90% of Iowans [92%] report their lives have not been affected by the ruling at all.
An amendment is far from reaching the ballot in Iowa. It would need to be passed by both the House and the Senate in two separate legislative sessions. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and others in the Senate have vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment in the Senate.