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Senate Dems vote down push for gay marriage ban
A motion by state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola) to suspend the Senate’s rules to allow a vote on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was defeated early Thursday morning on a party-line vote.
Sorenson asked all 50 senators to call up Senate Joint Resolution 8, a bill that would amend the Iowa Constitution to specify that marriage between one man and one woman is the only legal union valid or recognized in the state. Senate President Jack Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg) said “no,” but agreed to allow a vote on whether to suspend the rules and override his objection.
Twenty-six Democrats voted “no” and 24 Republicans voted “yes.” The motion was defeated.
Danny Carroll, chairman of the controversial Christian organization The Family Leader, told supporters in an e-mail Wednesday night that Sorenson was planning to “file numerous amendments and use any other tactic at his disposal” in order to force a vote on same-sex marriage. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to never allow such an amendment to come up for debate.
Gronstal told The Des Moines Register that despite claims by Republicans that this was a vote on marriage, it was only a vote on Senate rules.
“It is not a vote on the constitutional vote, but I understand that people can lie and say it is,” Gronstal said.
Sorenson has kept his focus of late on overturning the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection clause of the constitution. Last year, in an interview with Focus on the Family’s magazine, Sorenson called the debate over same-sex marriage “my generation’s defining moment.”
“This is what our kids are going to be reading about,” he told Focus on the Family. “It’s up to us to do what’s right.”
Last month, Sorenson told a radio audience that he was convinced he could force a vote on marriage, even though Secretary of the Senate Mike Marshal has said there is no mechanism whereby senators, even a majority of senators, can override the majority leader.
An Iowa House committee has passed a constitutional amendment, and a public hearing will be held Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the statehouse. In order to amend the constitution, the legislation would have to pass this year and again in 2013 before going on the ballot for a popular vote.