The Iowa House today endorsed the idea that Iowa’s Constitution should be amended to declare that a marriage in Iowa may only be between a man and a woman. The vote was 53 in favor, 43 opposed. Representative Betty De Boef, a republican from What Cheer, says the model for marriage should be one man and one woman. “We need to work toward a model that creates the best environment to breed, birth and nuture the next generation of Iowans,” De Boef says. “There is no question the best model that is recognized for thousands of years throughout history and all societies be they pagan, Muslim, Christian, they recognize that the best model for raising the young and survival of the species is the model of a union between one man and one woman.” Representative Danny Carroll, a republican from Grinnell, says with recent rulings on gay marriage in courts across the country, it’s time to make things clear in the state Constitution. “The reason to support this resolution is to make it very clear to the judiciary in this state the guidelines for adjudicating any issue that has to do with the institution of marriage,” Carroll says. Representative Dwayne Alonz, a republican from Hull, says most Iowans believe homosexual marriage erodes the family as the basic foundation of society. “We must do this to keep the activist judges from undermining the will of the people,” Alons says. “I believe very strongly our form of government is of the people, by the people and for the people, and that includes the judicial branch.” Representative Vicki Lensing, a democrat from Iowa City, opposes the constitutional amendment because she says it violates the civil rights of gays and lesbians. “Limitations on the nature of a relationship between two people has no place in the constitution,” she says. “The constitution is meant to be inclusive not exclusive.” Representative Bruce Hunter, a democrat from Des Moines, says marriage as an institution isn’t threatened when gays get to marry. “The state with the lowest divorce rate in the country, well I’ll be, it’s Massachusetts. Those darn gay marriages are ruining everything,” Hunter says. “Even California with its twin cities of evil — San Francisco and Hollywood — only ranks 21st in the nation. So where is marriage failing? Where are the divorce rates the highest? In the Bible Belt.” Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat from Des Moines, says gay rights is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time. “All that gay and lesbian people are asking for is equality, understanding if nothing else, at least tolerance,” Fallon says. “All they want (are) the same basic equal rights that all of us (privilege).” Iowa voters would get to decide whether to put an anti-gay marriage amendment on the Iowa Constitution in 2008 if the Senate endorses the move, too, and then both the House and Senate re-approve the move in 2006 or ’07.
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