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Gay marriage takes center stage on legislature’s second day
Lawmakers will be greeted by big crowds on day two of the 2010 General Assembly, as both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage will gather at the Capitol during the governor’s Condition of the State address.
The Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) has organized a rally on the western steps of the Capitol for noon Tuesday. But before the formal event, the group will attend Gov. Chet Culver‘s annual speech to a joint session of the legislature with the hopes of convincing lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“We expect the members of the Iowa legislature to listen to their constituents and not to stand in the way of our constitutional right to vote on the Iowa marriage amendment,” said IFPC President Chuck Hurley. “Any member who stands between the people and our right to vote is risking their political future. We will remember in November.”
In announcing the rally, the IFPC noted that the Iowa Supreme Court justices will also be in attendance Tuesday to watch Culver’s speech. In April, a unanimous court legalized same-sex marriage, and the group has since been outspoken in their opposition to the justices up for retention votes this fall.
One Iowa, the state’s largest gay-rights organization, is asking supporters of same-sex marriage to gather at the capitol in an effort to thwart the IFPC’s attempt “to co-opt Gov. Culver’s state of the state address and intimidate Iowa legislators into pushing for a constitutional amendment that would deny civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples.”
One Iowa’s gathering is planned to be less formal, with supporters watching Culver’s speech and then delivering 18,000 petition postcards to legislators throughout the afternoon. The group kicked off its “Red Blue Purple Campaign” – a coalition of labor, civil rights, and faith groups who support same-sex marriage — at a rally in downtown Des Moines on Sunday.
During an interview with The Iowa Independent, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal vowed to block any attempt to force a vote on a marriage ban, prompting leaders of Iowa’s social conservative movement to concede their is little hope of passing an amendment in 2010.