Iowa Lawmakers Move to Pass Gay Marriage Ban

The legislative push to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa began Monday.

The House Judiciary Committee passed a proposal, 13-8, that would amend the state constitution to say: "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Nearly two years ago, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act that had limited marriage to one man and one woman was unconstitutional. The ruling opened the door to make the Hawkeye State the third in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

At that time, only Massachusetts and Connecticut allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The court decision didn't sit well with many Iowans.

Last November, voters unseated three of the state high court justices. Conservative family groups had mobilized support to reject what they called "activist judges."

Iowa for Freedom has further called on the four remaining justices who voted in favor of gay marriage to resign.

The family groups have also been hard at work to push a state marriage amendment that would allow the voters to decide on the issue of marriage.

The proposal that passed Monday would not only ban gay marriage, but also civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Since Iowa is not a referendum state, the state legislature must pass the marriage amendment during two consecutive General Assemblies before the issue could appear before voters. If the House and Senate approves the legislation, citizens could vote on the marriage amendment in 2013.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in five states and the District of Columbia.

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