Iowa voters would get to decide whether gay marriage should be illegal if a resolution endorsed by a House committee (Thursday) also wins the backing of the full House and Senate. Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center says it’s time for an amendment to the state constitution. “It’s needed because a very few rogue judges have invented a supposed constitutional right to have marriage defined as other than one man, one women,” Hurley says. Hurley says marriage is the fundamental unit of society, and to tinker with it is like tinkering with the cell. “You introduce a cancer into it, you destroy the whole body,” he says. Iowa has a law declaring the only legal marriages in Iowa are those between a man and a woman, but Hurley says a constitutional amendment would force judges to uphold the sanctity of marriage. “The only thing above judges is the Constitution,” Hurley says. Sandy Vopalka of Carlisle lobbies for “Equality Iowa” — a coalition that represents Iowa’s gay community and she was on hand for yesterday’s committee debate. Vopalka says she’s a lesbian and has been with her partner for over five years. “I really don’t see why our relationship’s any different than most of the folks’ relationships in that room or sitting in the House as a Representative or in the Senate,” she says. Vopalka says putting “discrimination into the Constitution causes a lot of fear” in gay and lesbian Iowans. Vopalka says legislators’ time would be better spent trying to improve the state’s economy and bolstering the school system. “There are more important issues for us to be dealing with,” Vopalka says. The resolution on gay marriage that cleared the House Judiciary Committee yesterday next goes before the full House, and G-O-P leaders in the House say it’s important to vote on the issue.
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