On Tuesday, the Iowa House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 6, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban any form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, by an overwhelming 62 to 37 vote. The bill now moves to the Iowa Senate, where Democrats have a narrow 26-24 edge and Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment.
At least two Democratic senators said Tuesday that if a same-sex marriage constitutional amendment ever were to come to a vote of the full chamber, they'd likely vote "yes" - enough for a majority. They are Tom Hancock of Epworth and Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg, the Senate president.
Both back marriage between one man and one woman. They see allowing Iowans to vote on same-sex marriage as casting an individual vote of conscience. But they won't usurp the authority of Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs.
Senators of both parties agreed in interviews Tuesday that the sole authority to call such legislation for a vote lies with Gronstal, who said he won't budge on his refusal to do so. Republican senators said Tuesday their next step is to circulate a petition that would push the Senate version of a marriage resolution onto the calendar of bills eligible for a vote by the full Senate.
Two of the Democratic senators who signed a similar petition last year, Hancock and Joe Seng of Davenport, said Tuesday they're holding the possibility open to signing it again this year — which could give the petition the 26 votes necessary for a majority in the 50-member Senate. Republicans would consider that a major symbolic victory, but even that would not force Gronstal to allow a vote.
If passed through both legislative bodies in two consecutive General Assemblies, the issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2013. Let's pray the Iowa Senate Democratic caucus sticks together to defeat this, we really need a win here ...
Marriage equality has been legal since a 7-0 Iowa Supreme Court ruling in April 2009. In a separate move, Republican legislators are attempting to impeach the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who issued the landmark ruling.