The Iowa senate on Tuesday narrowly defeated a resolution that would have called for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. Lawmakers debated whether the resolution, which defined marriage as a union between only one man and one woman, was needed.
Sen. Matt McCoy argued that there's already an Iowa law that recognizes only marriage between a man and a woman. A voter referendum on the amendment would have cost the state about $1.4 million "to outlaw something that's already illegal in Iowa," he said. McCoy called it mean-spirited and discriminatory legislation.
Sen. Ken Veenstra sponsored the resolution. "This resolution is not about discrimination. It's not even about the legislature creating a new law or mandating a change in the law," he said. "It's about defending a 2,000-year-plus definition of marriage that has been a foundation of our society."
Gov. Tom Vilsack has said a constitutional amendment isn't needed and that lawmakers should be trying to solve larger problems in Iowa such as how to better fund education and health care. Curt Stamp, 37, of Des Moines, who is gay, said the resolution could have caused larger hurdles if he ever decides to marry and wants to have the same economic and legal rights with a partner as married couples currently are allowed. "It comes down to equal treatment under the law," he said.