Iowa House Passes Anti-Marriage Amendment

The Iowa House today passed a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage, civil union, and domestic partnerships for gay couples in the state. Proposed amendments to the state's constitution must be passed by two consecutive legislatures, then approved by referendum. Today's vote in the Republican-controlled House was largely along party lines. But the leader of the Democratic-controlled Senate, Michael Gronstal, has vowed that he will block the measure. The vote cames a day after more than 100 Iowans spoke out on the measure at a public hearing.
Last night, hundreds of people at the Iowa House listened to emotional testimony about the proposed constitutional amendment that would take away the freedom to marry in the state. Nearly 120 people spoke, with about 60% of them favoring marriage.
The speakers ranged from married couples talking about their love for each other, to a college student raised by two mothers.
"Our family really isn't so different from any other Iowa family," said 19-year-old University of Iowa student Zach Wahls. "When I'm home we go to church together, we eat dinner, we go on vacations."
Another marriage supporter was former Republican State Senator Jeff Angelo, who had actually sponsored a similar anti-marriage amendment in 2009. He told the packed chamber that he has changed his mind on the issue.
"This debate centers around the devaluation of the lives of a select group of people," he said. "The tenor of the debate has become such that it does not serve the people of Iowa well, and is not in keeping with an Iowa culture that is known nationwide for displaying both respect and generosity of spirit."
A unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court made marriage for gay couples legal in 2009.