Iowa gay marriage foes seek constitutional ban at the ballot box


LGBTQ Nation

Gay marriage opponents are organizing efforts in Iowa to pressure lawmakers into taking action on a constitutional ban of gay marriage.

The Iowa family policy council group ACTION is planning a rally at the state house on January 12 when Democratic Gov. Chet Culver delivers his Condition of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly with Iowa Supreme Court justices present.

Democratic leaders — House Speaker Pat Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal — reiterated this month they do not plan to take up a resolution during the 2010 session that would propose a constitutional ban on gay marriage, saying such an effort would effectively seek to write discrimination into the Iowa Constitution.

To come before Iowa voters, a proposed constitutional amendment has to be approved in exactly the same form by two consecutive general assemblies.

If nothing happens in 2010, the earliest the issue could come before voters would be in 2013 or 2014.

Last April, Iowa became the third state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court ruled that a law defining marriage as only between men and women was unconstitutional.

Opponents are seeking a constitutional ban to reverse the ruling at the ballot box, similar to the effects of Proposition 8 in California in November 2008.

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