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Hearing on gay marriage ban scheduled for today
An Iowa House subcommittee will begin the process of amending the state’s constitution to ban all legal recognition of same-sex relationships by holding the first hearing on House Joint Resolution 6 today at 1 p.m.
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by 56 of the 60 Republicans in the Iowa House, would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples. It aims to invalidate the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
The subcommittee that will meet today is made up Republicans Dwayne Alons and Chris Hagenow and Democrat Beth Wessel-Kroeschell. The full judiciary committee is scheduled to consider the bill today at 4 p.m. Republicans have a 12-9 advantage on the committee and a 60-40 majority in the full House.
While the marriage amendment is widely expected to pass the House, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to never allow such an amendment to come up for debate. Democrats still have a 26-24 majority in the Senate.
One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT-rights organization, is asking opponents of the ban to rally at the Capitol and attend the subcommittee hearing. They are asking those in attendance to wear blue to “signify your support for equality.”
“We know our opposition will be out in force, and that’s why it’s so important to have you there,” the group said in a statement. “This is a critical opportunity to show collective opposition to writing discrimination into the constitution.”
Opponents of gay marriage are also hoping to rally today at the Capitol. Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, said in an e-mail last week that he will lead a prayer meeting before the subcommittee hearing. Hurley, who publicly advocates for laws prohibiting homosexual sex and has said same-sex relationships are a bigger threat to public health that second-hand smoke, said those who attend should bring gifts.
“Several of us plan to bring a token of Christian love (like a small bag of cookies or other treats) to share with homosexual activists who we’ll be encountering Monday,” Hurley said. “It’s time we dispel lies about Christians by tangibly showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”
The subcommittee will meet today at 1 p.m. in Room 305 of the State Capitol.