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Iowa Republicans expected to force House vote on gay marriage ban

Iowa Republicans expected to force House vote on gay marriage ban

A legislative push to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is likely to begin Monday, according to the state’s largest gay-rights organization.

According to The Iowa Independent:

After numerous meetings at the Capitol Thursday, Brad Clark, campaign director for One Iowa, told The Iowa Independent that he expects Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House to attempt to bring about a vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage by invoking Rule 60, which allows a majority vote on the floor of the House to pull a bill out of a committee even if the committee has not approved it.

Democratic leadership has repeatedly promised that the legislature would not discuss gay marriage this session. Gay-rights advocates have long believed conservative lawmakers would attempt some procedural move to force a vote on the issue in spite of Democratic opposition.

Democrats have successfully blocked Republican efforts to force a vote on a constitutional ban on gay marriage, including attaching it to a tax proposal and the state’s Health and Human Services budget during the 2009 session.

Clark said he is optimistic this latest effort will fail, saying Republicans need 51 votes to bring the bill to the House floor. There are 56 Democrats in the Iowa House and only 44 Republicans, meaning at least seven Democrats would have to support the move for the effort to succeed.

“And in theory, Democrats could just not vote,” Clark said, denying the GOP the majority it needs and the symbolic victory of getting Democrats on record as casting a vote on gay marriage.

The Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last April in a unanimous decision.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said there will be no vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage during this legislative session.

“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.”

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