Republicans tried, twice, Thursday to force House action so a statewide vote eventually could be held on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa.
Representative Christopher Rants of Sioux City says he and his fellow Republicans were just trying to find any avenue possible to force House debate on gay marriage.
"It will only change when the people of Iowa convince their specific state representative that they want a vote on this issue," Rants says. "…People are going to have to change the hearts and minds of their legislators."
House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, is the person who ruled both G.O.P. attempts out of order. On Thursday morning, gay marriage opponents unhappy with that decision started chanting: "Let us vote" as they stood in the House balcony. Murphy says the House is not the place for a pep rally.
"I bet you they don’t behave this way at home," Murphy says, "or in their church."
Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center — a leading opponent of gay marriage — defends the protestors who voiced their anger.
"I think that in any contest, let’s say a close basketball game, you’re going to have people that will express their emotions," Hurley says. "And I think it was appropriate."
Brad Clark, campaign manager for the gay rights organization known as "One Iowa," says he wasn’t surprised by yesterday’s events.
"These legislators have shown a lot of courage, a lot of leadership over the last many years and they recognize that Iowa has a lot to do in terms of rebuilding from the floods, working on our economy, fixing our budget," Clark says. "And that’s what message they sent."
Clark suggests gay marriage isn’t a major issue for most Iowans.
"I think Chuck Hurley is completely out of touch with the needs of Iowans right now," Clark says. "Everyday Iowans are focused on rebuilding from the floods, rebuilding their homes, finding jobs."