Lambda Legal Condemns Iowa House Vote In Favor of Amendment to Ban Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
(Des Moines, Iowa, February 1, 2011)—After the Iowa House of Representatives voted 62-37 in favor of a bill banning marriage and any other form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Senior Staff Attorney Camilla Taylor:
"Today's vote is a shameful attack on same-sex couples and their children. History won't look kindly on the politicians who voted today to attack committed Iowa couples and their kids across the state who merely want their government to continue to treat them equally.
"The backers of this measure know that non-gay Iowans' lives have not changed in the slightest since same-sex couples gained equal access to marriage almost two years ago. After hours of testimony and debate in the House, the message that rings loud and clear is the love, responsibility, and commitment voiced by same-sex couples and their families who are the only ones whose lives are directly affected by their ability to marry.
"Iowa gay and lesbian couples and their children aren't going away. They have survived cheap political attacks in the past. While days like today are tough, Iowa families take comfort in the fact that in the past, Iowans have rejected calls to put discrimination into Iowa's constitution, which has lived up to its promise of equality for everyone for generations. Iowans have a proud tradition of standing up for civil rights, often long before it is popular, and we believe that Iowa voters have no interest in changing their constitution to slam the door on Iowa same-sex couples and their families.
"We went to court to fight for equality for same-sex couples and their children and we relied on the sturdy, fair Iowa Constitution to provide justice for everyone. At Lambda Legal, our hearts fill when we hear the stories of couples who have made the joyful decision to marry and to be there for one another. This vote is an attack on the Constitution and on these loving families."
Recent polling suggests Iowans are either favorable or neutral to the idea of relationship recognition for gay couples. The KCCI/Research 2000 poll in June 2010 showed that a majority of Iowans (53 percent) supported marriage for same sex couples. According to the Des Moines Register, more than 90 percent of Iowans [92 percent] report their lives have not been affected by the ruling at all.
An amendment is far from reaching the ballot in Iowa. It would need to be passed by both the House and the Senate in two separate legislative sessions. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and others in the Senate have vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment in the Senate.
Contact: Lisa Hardaway; 212-809-8585 x 266; [email protected]
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.