About two-hundred backers of a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage rallied on the statehouse steps today (Tuesday). Dan Berry, the pastor of the Cornerstone Family Church in Des Moines, says most Iowans believe traditional marriage — between a man and a woman — should be preserved. “We just don’t want the voices of a few to redefine what marriage is,” Berry says.
Current Iowa law stipulates that the only legally-recognized marriages in Iowa are those between a man and a woman, but a group of gay couples has filed a lawsuit hoping to overturn that law. Berry and the rest of the rally-goers argue that by passing an amendment to state constitution would safeguard against having gay marriages sanctioned here.
“This is to important of an issue to allow the court or some judge to redefine established law,” Berry says. “Ultimately, let the people of Iowa make that decision, not some judge.” The Iowa House has passed a resolution that would let Iowa voters decide whether a “traditional marriage” amendment should be added to the state constitution, but the proposal has stalled in the Senate.
“Marriage is to be held in honor, to be esteemed,” he says. “It is the foundation of the bedrock of the moral health of our community and our state.”
Two dozen Des Moines high school seniors gathered near the rally-goers to voice the opposing view. Eighteen-year-old Robert Martin, a senior from Des Moines Roosevelt High School, is the group’s spokesman.
“We’re here to protest the protest that’s going on here today,” Martin says. He says surveys show younger Americans support gay marriage, and adding an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state’s constitution would make it harder for his generation to change the contrition so gay and lesbian couples would have the right to marry in Iowa.
“Gay marriage is a personal right,” Martin says. “We should never be deciding rights based on the majority opinion.” Martin insists the students who protested did not skip class to be at the statehouse at 11:30. He says because they’re all seniors, they have “more leeway in their schedules.”