Iowa House Votes 62-37 to Ban Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions

Following debate this morning, the Iowa House voted 63-37 to approve House joint Resolution 6, a constitutional amendment that would not only ban same-sex marriage, but civil unions and domestic partnerships as well.

One Iowa: Iowa

The bill now moves on to the Iowa Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment. If passed through both legislative bodies in two consecutive General Assemblies, the issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2013.
“The proposed amendment devalues families and divides Iowans,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “The Constitution is meant to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Iowans. It is inappropriate to use the political process to single out and deny a group of Iowans of their constitutional protections.”

 Last night, hundreds packed the Iowa state house for a debate on the resolution. Listen to some of the testimony, both affirming and horrifying, here.

As One Iowa noted, Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block any such amendment from getting a vote in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority.

Republicans last month attempted to suspend Senate rules to force a vote on the measure.


  1. CKNJ says

    So, tell me again, Republicans out there, how your party is seeing the light and becoming inclusive…? The GOP is a vile, hateful and bigoted bunch of asswipes. We need to have the non-haters Republicans speak up and speak LOUD. Anyone that does not, is as guilty of bigotry a those that support it.

    I am sick of the double-talk coming from the Right. They need to be out and proud (ugh) as the haters they are, so there is no confusion!

  2. says

    What a despicable thing for the Republicans in Iowa to do. This is a surefire sign that Iowa is well on it’s way to becoming a theocratic state and that NO ONE’S rights are safe.

    It’s time for some boycotts – this is a civil rights outrage.

  3. Steve says

    OK – please review for those of us in the slow class.

    Since when do human rights become a subject for a majority vote? Isn’t that the point of having a judicial branch of government, to make decisions protecting the minorities in our society?

  4. Tim says

    This is appalling. I left the US 4 years ago and, as much as I hate to say it, couldn’t be more glad that I did. I never realised how incredibly liberating it is to live in a society that accepts our right to love as legitimate and makes provisions to recognise it legally. The more I read stories like this (and, sadly, the more I read this blog. Not the fault of Andy or the rest of the contributors but of the news they have to report), the more I don’t even want to go back and visit family and friends. The things these people are doing are nearly as bad as the things happening in other countries in the middle east and Africa and all should be ashamed.

  5. milo says

    Citizens of Iowa: is this really the most important issue in your lives? Apparently, it is. What do think will happen when you banish the gays – will god give you a good harvest?

  6. Bill Cooney says

    Anyone can get a gun in Arizona.
    Utah wants a “state gun.”
    Iowa wants to deny gay people their right to marriage.
    This is why they are “flyover states”. I can’t imagine why any self-respecting GLBT person would want to live or visit any of these Christo-Taliban states.

  7. Disgusted American says

    what MANY people do NOT realize is…………this RIGHT WAS Already Established…..period! ..and Since then….100’s & 1000’s HAVE MARRIED…… you really think you’re going to NULLIFY thier Marriages? won’t……the ONLY thing this could wound up doing….is OPENING IOWA up to Expensive Litigation $$$$$…Paid BY the Taxpayers…..MILLIONS of Dollars of Tax Payer Money..that could Fund Much needed things People Need….and while that WILL pit Iowan against Iowan / neighbor against neighbor …and Forver RUIN the Reputation of IOWA……Wow, somethng to be really proud of…huh Iowa? Pathetic……Hey GOP…WHERE’S THE JOBS???????

  8. candideinnc says

    Two steps forward, one back. Illinois now has civil unions. Hawaii is coming along. Maryland, too. California may get rid of Proposition H8. The rethugs are making headway in one house of the Iowa legislature. They may win this battle. The war is already decided, and they lose.

  9. TANK says

    Yes, when does equal protection under the law become subject to popular whim or political fancy? Oh that’s right, in reality…because like all laws, social rights are make believe and are all privileges that people and groups with the means of persuasion dispense. None are guaranteed, and all are capable of falling victim to popular sentiment and cheap political score boarding. And this, among so many other instances of the dark and twisted history of “civil rights” and “human rights” and definitions of personhood found throughout the utterly forgettable time frame of human existence yet further confirms that ethics is bigger and more important than laws and governments…but practically, it’s not very relevant to how most people conduct themselves given the right set of incentives. They will eat each other, and you are one of them.

  10. says

    History is against these bigots…..
    Madison was against these bigots…..
    All progressive countries (Europe) are against these bigots……

    So does that pitch Iowa and Uganda in the same camp of bigots taking away a minority’s rights ?
    You bet.
    “Devalues families….”…….these ignorant wankers just don’t even understand their own stupidity.

  11. candideinnc says

    The Thugs do nothing to improve the lives of their constituents. They oppose any legislation designed to generate jobs, control corporate greed, better the environment, improve the health care system. The only thing they are good at is fueling bigotry. I hope they can live with themselves. They make me puke.

  12. jw says

    3 Dems voted for and 1 Repub was absent for the vote. Repubs have a 60-40 majority in the IA house.

    Reps. Kurt Swaim of Bloomfield, who supported HJR 6 in committee, Brian Quirk of New Hampton and Dan Muhlbauer of Manilla were the dems that voted for the resolution.

    Rep. Betty De Boef, R-What Cheer, was absent due to illness.

  13. DN says

    I agree, CKNJ – I want to hear what Chris Barron has to say about this. Oh what’s that? He’s too busy doing crunches and sending out photos of his abs?

    I’ve *had it* with being deferential to Republicans.

  14. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law

    The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”) of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not adhering to the literal wording.

    “Law” originally referred to legislative statute, but in the idiom may refer to any kind of rule. Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities, loopholes, and ambiguous language. Following the letter of the law but not the spirit is also a tactic used by oppressive governments.

  15. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    Anti-Gay Vipers and the Outsider Archetype

    People who identify with the LGBT community live in the shadow of the outsider archetype, whether they are or not aware of it. Even in communities where their survival is not immediately threatened from the outside.

    However, the possibility of a life-threatening change remains ever-present:

    ·The treacherous activities of the religious right.

    ·Political censors.

    ·Gay basher who are penetrating the heart of metropolitan gay communities.

    ·Medical professions, which continue to foist drugs known to be toxic such as AZT and DDI to HIV positive people.

    ·Cure-happy psychologist.

    All of these figures confirm the need to be wary of anti-gay vipers and their numerous forms. Such narcissism and treachery will only draw out the worst in people.

    Having them in the lives of LGBT figures hasn’t done the LGBT community any good. And our predecessors prove this quality of reality. Any one here wants poisonous history to repeat itself?

  16. Bruno says

    This looks like an obvious pander to the GOP base in Iowa, which has some of the wingiest wingnuts in the country. However, the fact that they included CU’s and DP’s in the bill, which would actually HURT their chances at the ballot box, says to me that they know it’s not going anywhere this time around.

  17. Francis says

    What’s so ironic is, the Iowa senate is not going to pass this through. Like I said on another thread, this is basically a procedural measure, and these Republicant’s pretty much sending a message of non support of gay people. That’s what they are doing country wide. It’s an all out assault at this point from these bigots on our community. And while it is a political game, and they are doing this as a deflective measure, and to round up the hate base, these people also truly do hate us. And truly do look at us as sub-human. And think anything that affirms our existence in any way is an attack on them, on America and morally and socially destructive.

    Don’t get it twisted, folks. This and MORE is what we will be up against as we continue gaining rights and general acceptance. With Maryland, RI, NY, California, Hawaii and Illinois all potentially/definitely enacting at least some form of equality, the hate brigade is going to dig in and fight back the hardest they have fought, knowing they are truly about to lose. We better get really focused about this and stand up strong and fight back against this hate or they could overwhelm us.

  18. Francis says

    Republicans said they were focusing on the economy and jobs, but it seems they are mostly focused on health care and the gays. Wonder if they think that strategy is going to work for them in 2012. Also, yes, I would be interested to see GOProud folks and the like think of their Republican/conservative brethren today. Guess all that talk of solidarity between Republicans and the LGBT community was a delusion.

  19. says

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here not for love, not for romance, but only to celebrate state policy towards responsible procreation.

    These words should be mandatory in Iowa marriages, if Rep. Rich Anderson of Clarinda has his way.

  20. Aaron says

    I, too, am upset about today’s vote. But please do not make generalized statements about the people of Iowa. We may be a relatively small state – a “flyover” state to some – but the fact remains that we are one of only five states that currently offer full marriage rights to same-sex couples. Each victory is important. And we do not intend to turn back the clock. We have learned from the experiences in California and Maine, and hope (and are working hard!) to avoid a similar outcome. Please help us! A donation to One Iowa ( is one way to do so. The anti-gay forces may have won today, but will lose in the long-run.

  21. MadM@ says

    Aaron is right…. Iowa may be in “flyover country” but it has full marriage rights… something CA and NY can’t boast. My question is where are all the libertarian republicans when these kinds of things happen? Whatever happened to “let’s get the government out of the lives of private citizens?” Guess that only applies to persona finances.

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