BREAKING: Iowa House Committee backs vote on gay marriage ban

Speak Equal on January 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

In a 13-8 vote, an Iowa House committee has approved a measure calling for a referendum on a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.

The measure, House Joint Resolution 6, calls for a constitutional amendment to declaring “marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state” to the full House.

Passage is nearly certain when the House takes up House Joint Resolution 6 — probably next week, but that’s likely where the march to the ballot box will end. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has promised not to take up the measure, which he said would write discrimination into the Iowa Constitution.

The resolution would ask voters to deny a subset of Iowa couples a host of rights including hospital visitations and a role in making decisions about medical care, businesses and property, Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroschell, D-Ames, said.

As long as same-sex couples make the same commitment as male-female couples, they should not be treated differently, she said.

Discussion regarding whether or not the measure should be repealed at all, and if so by whom has caused an uproar within the community as advocates and adversaries lock horns. Several cite that past legislature and the courts have failed to represent the true will of the people. Others urge reconsideration of a repeal, believing such a measure to be a step backwards in the fight for equality and acceptance.

Tom Chapman of the Iowa Catholic Conference favored the resolution “because of what we stand for, not against.” Catholic theology holds that a man and a woman are necessary for marriage and is the best setting for raising children.

Matt Mardis-LeCroy of the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines said churches and religions “are not of one mind” on the issue.

Bill Graham of Dallas County encouraged the supporters of HJR 6 to accept the fairness of the Supreme Court decision “even if it rubs your traditions the wrong way” because Iowa is a place “where equality is cherished.”
“In this state, we don’t vote on rights. In this state, rights are not a matter of majority rule,” he said.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Anderson, R-Clarinda, said he will honor House Democrats’ request for a public hearing on HJR 6.

“This is one of those really important issues that divide our country,” he said. “I know that our tone and demeanor will be exemplary in helping the people of Iowa and America see how Iowans and Americans can disagree in a context of respect and honor.”

Tags: Marriage Equality

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