BREAKING: Iowa legislature rejects attempt to advance anti-equality constitutional amendment

The Iowa House today rejected procedural attempts by opponents of equality to advance an amendment to the Iowa Constitution seeking to overturn last April’s unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling and to deny the protections of civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples.  

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in April 2009 that same-sex couples be allowed to marry for reasons of basic fairness and constitutional equal protection.  According to Des Moines Register,

Both the House and the Senate this morning rejected efforts led by Republicans to push a resolution that would prevent equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Today’s actions were procedural and not directly upon the issue of marriage.

What Republicans wanted was the right to pull House Joint Resolution 6 out of a committee so that it would be placed on the debate calendar and avoid a legislative deadline this week.

The effort failed in the Senate where a vote was not taken. However,  all 18 Senate Republicans signed a petition circulated by Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan, as well as one Democratic senator, Tom Hancock, D-Epworth. They needed 26.

The House spent almost 30 minutes on a rarely used “call-of-the-House” in which each of the 100 members were ordered into the chambers to vote unless they were previously excused.  The House measure ultimately failed in a 45 to 54 vote that was mostly along party lines. … It’s unlikely that the resolution will be able to meet this week’s legislative deadline.

** Thank those 54 Iowa representatives who voted with us by clicking here! **

“We applaud those legislators who voted to protect the freedoms of all Iowans and continue the job of balancing the budget and putting Iowans back to work,” Carolyn Jenison, the executive director of One Iowa, said. “It’s time to move on from the destructive politics of division and focus on what matters to a great majority of Iowans.” Indeed, the majority of Iowans don’t think the marriage debate is a worthy way for their legislature to spend its time.

An Iowa Poll taken last month shows that 62 percent of Iowans think the issue of gay marriage doesn’t deserve lawmakers’ time, rating below texting while driving, puppy mill legislation, gun control, payday loans and gambling.

We have more work to do, however.  Every ten years there is a constitutionally-mandated question placed on the November ballot in Iowa asking voters “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?”  2010 is one of those years.  According to One Iowa’s Justin Uebelhor: “this could potentially open up the Iowa Constitution to major revisions and is another way that opponents of equality could amend the constitution. There is hesitation to use this from both ends of the spectrum, as it could open up the constitution to special interests.”

Thus, despite today’s procedural victory, One Iowa’s annual Lobby Day at the Capitol is still taking place tomorrow. Supporters will gather at the Capitol to share their stories with Iowa legislators, demonstrating the importance of civil marriage equality to Iowa families. Please contact Justin Uebelhor at 515-333-2525 to arrange press availability.

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BREAKING: Iowa legislature rejects attempt to advance anti-equality constitutional amendment

The Iowa House today rejected procedural attempts by opponents of equality to advance an amendment to the Iowa Constitution seeking to overturn last April’s unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling and to deny the protections of civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples.  

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in April 2009 that same-sex couples be allowed to marry for reasons of basic fairness and constitutional equal protection.  According to Des Moines Register,

Both the House and the Senate this morning rejected efforts led by Republicans to push a resolution that would prevent equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Today’s actions were procedural and not directly upon the issue of marriage.

What Republicans wanted was the right to pull House Joint Resolution 6 out of a committee so that it would be placed on the debate calendar and avoid a legislative deadline this week.

The effort failed in the Senate where a vote was not taken. However,  all 18 Senate Republicans signed a petition circulated by Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan, as well as one Democratic senator, Tom Hancock, D-Epworth. They needed 26.

The House spent almost 30 minutes on a rarely used “call-of-the-House” in which each of the 100 members were ordered into the chambers to vote unless they were previously excused.  The House measure ultimately failed in a 45 to 54 vote that was mostly along party lines. … It’s unlikely that the resolution will be able to meet this week’s legislative deadline.

** Thank those 54 Iowa representatives who voted with us by clicking here! **

“We applaud those legislators who voted to protect the freedoms of all Iowans and continue the job of balancing the budget and putting Iowans back to work,” Carolyn Jenison, the executive director of One Iowa, said. “It’s time to move on from the destructive politics of division and focus on what matters to a great majority of Iowans.” Indeed, the majority of Iowans don’t think the marriage debate is a worthy way for their legislature to spend its time.

An Iowa Poll taken last month shows that 62 percent of Iowans think the issue of gay marriage doesn’t deserve lawmakers’ time, rating below texting while driving, puppy mill legislation, gun control, payday loans and gambling.

We have more work to do, however.  Every ten years there is a constitutionally-mandated question placed on the November ballot in Iowa asking voters “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?”  2010 is one of those years.  According to One Iowa’s Justin Uebelhor: “this could potentially open up the Iowa Constitution to major revisions and is another way that opponents of equality could amend the constitution. There is hesitation to use this from both ends of the spectrum, as it could open up the constitution to special interests.”

Thus, despite today’s procedural victory, One Iowa’s annual Lobby Day at the Capitol is still taking place tomorrow. Supporters will gather at the Capitol to share their stories with Iowa legislators, demonstrating the importance of civil marriage equality to Iowa families. Please contact Justin Uebelhor at 515-333-2525 to arrange press availability. (more…)