Marriage Amendment Faces Uncertain Future in Iowa

Last Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee in Iowa voted 13-6 in favor of an amendment that states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in the state of Iowa.'' Backed by Republican representative Danny Carroll, the amendment awaits a decision by the full House.

Republican leaders are confident that the bill will be approved in the House. However, the Senate, currently tied at 25-25 on the issue, presents a greater challenge.

Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson stated last Friday that the amendment is doomed to failure, with little chance of passing in the Senate.

“We have a number of members who feel it’s not necessary, so I would give it a very, very slim chance. It’s very unlikely it would make it through the Senate,” said Iverson. The Senate rejected a similar measure last year.

Opponents argue that Iowa already has a law banning same-sex marriage, and therefore the amendment is not needed. Those who support the bill point to the events happening in other states, where activist judges are declaring such laws unconstitutional. Supporters assert that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect traditional marriage.

The amendment must be approved by two consecutive General Assemblies before being placed on the ballot for a statewide vote. Approval by the current and next year’s Legislatures will place the measure on the 2008 ballot. If rejected, the amendment must be reintroduced in the General Assembly, for a chance to enter the 2010 general election.