An attempt to amend Iowa’s constitution to declare that marriages in Iowa may only be between a man and a woman failed last night in the Iowa Senate. The vote was 25 against, 24 in favor. Senator Matt McCoy, a democrat from Des Moines who is openly gay, says it would send a strong signal that Iowa’s not a welcoming place.McCoy says he doesn’t understand why legislators were wasting their time with “such meaningless, mean-spirited, discriminatory legislation.” McCoy says he wonders how traditional marriage is “undermined by two loving individuals trying to live and let live.” Senator Ken Veenstra, a republican from Orange City, says it’s time to reinforce “traditional marriage” between a man and a woman as the foundation of our society.Veenstra says “some of the choices that our culture has moved to have not improved our welfare, our way of life, our future, our health.” Veenstra disputed McCoy’s charge that Veenstra and others were bigoted toward gays. Veenstra says McCoy “is as much a man created in the image of God…as we all are.” Veenstra says the difference is in how they’ve made different “choices” in lifestyle and behavior. Veenstra says he accepts that the two may not agree on those choices. Senator Jeff Angelo, a republican from Creston, says the gay marriage debate that’s going on in the state of Massachusetts after a court there ruled on the issue shows it’s time for an amendment to Iowa’s constitution to ensure marriage may only be between a man and a woman. Angelo says “we have to be disturbed by this new definition that marriage is mainly an arrangement for the benefit of adults” and the diminished importance of having a husband and a wife in the home to raise children. And Angelo argued that allowing gay marriage would open the door to legalizing other forms of marriage.And Angelo argued that allowing gay marriage would open the door to legalizing other forms of marriage — like bigamy. All the democrats in the Iowa Senate voted against the proposed “traditional marriage” amendment to the state constitution and were joined by three republicans who voted no. (Those republicans were Mary Lundby of Marion; Maggie Tinsman of Bettendorf and Don Redfern of Cedar Falls.) The other republicans in the Senate voted for the proposal. While the proposed amendment to the state constitution failed, Iowa law forbids same-sex marriages.
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