Iowa senate leader: No vote on gay marriage ban this session

Iowa senate leader: No vote on gay marriage ban this session

There will be no vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage during the 2010 legislative session, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has told The Iowa Independent.

Mike Gronstal
Mike Gronstal

Republicans may try to force a vote on an amendment, the Democrat from Council Bluffs said, but he will not allow any bill banning same-sex marriage to come to the floor.

“I will not write discrimination into the constitution of the State of Iowa,” Gronstal said. “I’m going to block that at every opportunity. There will be no vote on the constitutional amendment.”

Republican legislative leaders have said repeatedly that they will work to ensure a vote on same-sex marriage takes place during the session.

In 2004, the state Senate narrowly rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a 25-24 vote — four Republicans joined all 21 Democrats to kill the measure. The following year, the Republican controlled Iowa House passed a gay marriage ban, but an evenly divided Senate never took up the bill.

Now, Democrats have a commanding 32-18 edge in the Senate, making Republican efforts to pass a ban very unlikely.

In order to become a constitutional amendment in Iowa, the bill must be approved in exactly the same form by two consecutive general assemblies, and then be put to a public vote. If Republicans are unable to pass a ban this year, the earliest it could go before the public would likely be 2014.

Gay marriage opponents are 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.

Gay marriage was legalized in Iowa on April 27, 2009 following an April 3, 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that there was “no important governmental interest in denying citizens marriage licenses based on their sexual orientation.”

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