Iowa Antimarriage Bill Introduced

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 19 2011 5:15 PM ET

Legislation that would allow voters to strip Iowa same-sex couples of marriage rights was introduced in the state house of representatives Wednesday.

Iowa has had marriage equality since 2009, when the state supreme court ruled unanimously that denying gay couples access to marriage violated the state constitution. The new measure, which has been under discussion for some time, would allow voters to amend the Iowa constitution to ban same-sex marriage and also prohibit marriage-like arrangements such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. It would have to pass in two consecutive sessions of the legislature before going before voters, meaning 2013 is the soonest it could be on the ballot.

The Des Moines Register reports that 56 of the 60 Republicans in the house signed on as cosponsors of the bill, while no Democrat did. Republicans control the house but not the senate, whose Democratic majority leader, Mike Gronstal, has promised to prevent a vote on the legislation.

Pro-gay groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, One Iowa, and Freedom to Marry decried the bill. Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson issued a statement saying, “Iowa’s legislators should resoundingly reject this assault on the constitution and families, and avoid dragging the state backward at a time when Iowa’s families want to see them moving the economy forward.”

Meanwhile, Bob Vander Plaats, a leader of the effort that resulted in the voter recall of three Iowa supreme court justices last year, kicked off a tour on Wednesday of all 99 counties in the state to introduce his new conservative organization, Family Leader. Among other things, the group is calling for the resignation of the remaining four justices who ruled for marriage equality, and for their impeachment if they do not resign. Read more here.