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Iowa Republicans fail in two attempts to force vote on gay marriage ban

Iowa Republicans fail in two attempts to force vote on gay marriage ban

Two Democrats and all 62 Republicans in the Iowa state legislature failed Tuesday in their bid to bring up a resolution that would set up a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The first attempt came shortly before nine o’clock in the Senate. All 18 Republicans, and one Democrat, signed a document called a “discharge petition” to bring the resolution out of committee and make it eligible for Senate debate. The effort failed as it required at least 26 signatures.

Shortly thereafter, House Republicans tried to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage up for a vote — it too failed by a 54-45 vote.

House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen moved to invoke Iowa House rule 60, which says a bill in committee for 18 legislative days may be withdrawn from the committee and placed on the House debate calendar if it has at least 51 votes.

His target was House Joint Resolution 6, which calls for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Putting it on the calendar would make it eligible for debate.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says lawmakers have their hands full with budget problems and don’t have time to get bogged down in divisive social issues.

That means Iowans will likely have to wait until 2014 at the earliest to vote on whether to amend the constitution and ban same-sex marriage. It takes votes by two consecutive general assemblies before proposed constitutional amendments can go before voters.

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