Iowa Christians eye repeal of gay ‘marriage’ law
June 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While gay “marriage” advocates won a pivotal victory in New York on Friday, social conservatives in Iowa are inching closer to repealing that state’s gay marriage law, in a bid to prove that the redefinition of marriage is far from a done deal in the U.S.
Last November, state voters in Iowa ousted three of the judges who approved the ruling that legalized homosexual nuptials, while Republicans picked up six seats in the state Senate. Then, this February, the state House of Representatives voted 62-37 in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships.
“Repealing gay marriage gets more difficult the further we get out (from the 2009 decision), but I’m certain that it would pass if it got out of the Senate for a vote,” Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, said in a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.
When the Iowa Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision on April 3, 2009, it was hailed as a landmark in the fight over gay “marriage.” Iowa is the only state in the Midwest, one of the two socially conservative regions in the United State, to recognize such unions. Socially conservative Iowa legislators were targeted by out-of-state gay donors, most notably Tim Gill, founder of the software firm Quark.
In the opinion of many political experts, homosexual “marriage” in Iowa was likely to remain on the books.
In California, after the state Supreme Court ruled in May 2008 that gay couples were free to “marry,” the state’s voters overturned the ruling that November. In Iowa, however, overturning a state Supreme Court decision is more elaborate. Both the state House and Senate in two different legislative sessions must vote to ban gay marriage, and a majority of the state’s voters must approve a constitutional amendment to ban it.
State Senate President Dave Gronstal, a Democrat, has expressed determination to not allow the Democrat-controlled upper chamber to vote on a ballot measure to repeal the decision. “The politics of it are I’m not going to put discrimination in the Iowa Constitution,” said Gronstal in April 2009. “That’s a horrible idea. The people who are pushing the amendment are saying equal protection under the law - except. I think that’s unacceptable.”
But to traditional marriage supporters, Iowa was never a lost cause. Most polls do not show a majority of support for homosexual “marriage” in the Hawkeye State. Furthermore, it was the state Supreme Court, not the state legislature, which granted homosexual couples the right to marry.
More than two years later, traditional marriage supporters have kept their resolve to restore the definition of marriage in Iowa to one man and one woman.
“I don’t want this to be the homosexual capital of the Midwest,” Scheffler said. “We Iowans want this state to be a good, safe environment for our kids. You ask the average person in the street whether they support gay marriage, and they’ll say no.”
Scheffler says he was encouraged by the progress Republicans made in the state Senate in last fall’s elections. While Democrats had held a 32-18 advantage in that chamber, their advantage is 26-24 this session. “The Republican leadership is very committed to overturning the ruling. All of them are,” he said.
If state Republicans can regain control of the upper chamber next fall, and keep their majority in the House, they could vote to ban gay marriage in 2013 and 2015. The measure to amend the state constitution would then go to voters.