Groups which oppose gay marriage vow to seek an amendment to Iowa’s constitution declaring that the only legal marriages in Iowa are between a man and a woman. The move comes after a gay rights organization announced earlier today that it has filed a lawsuit seeking to legalize gay marriage in Iowa.

Jeff Bradley, a Des Moines pastor, says most Iowans “firmly believe” that marriage between a man and a woman is “best.” “I would have never dreamed that in the state of Iowa that we would have come to this place, where we needed to define the issue of marriage between a man and a woman,” Bradley says. Bradley says he’s “shocked” that an outside group would come into Iowa demanding that gay marriage be made legal here. He pledges to “work diligently” to get that state constitutional amendment on “traditional” marriage passed.

Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a Republican from Clarion, predicts the amendment will get the backing of a majority of lawmakers. Iverson says the reason many legislators didn’t vote for a constitutional amendment before was that there is a state law which declared legal marriage in Iowa is between a man and a woman. “Now we’re finding out (the law) is under attack,” Iverson says. “I think this will make a huge difference.” If two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies endorse the constitutional amendment, then the earliest it could go before Iowa voters would be in 2007. “It’s a very, very important issue and we think it’s proper that the people of Iowa get to vote on it,” Iverson says.

But the Democrat who is co-leader of the state Senate says he’s confident the courts will uphold current law and there’s no need for legislative action on the issue. Senate Co-Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the current law is “supported by most Iowans” and Gronstal says he, too, believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Iowa Family Policy Center director Chuck Hurley says the lawsuit filed by the gay rights group is an attempt to “circumvent the will” of Iowans. “We will do all we can as an organization…as community and faith and family leaders to stand up for the first instititution ever created and that’s one-man/one-woman marriage,” Hurley says. Current state law already declares that the only legally-recognized marriages in Iowa are those between a man and a woman. Hurley says it’s his “fond hope” that the state’s Attorney General will defend the state’s law against the legal challenge filed today. But Hurley says his group will also respond in the courts if they don’t feel Attorney General Tom Miller’s being aggressive enough in that defense.

Hurley says allowing gay marriage in Iowa is dangerous. Hurley says traditional marriage is “under assault” from gay rights adovates. “What will our children be raised to understand about family and marriage?” Hurley asks. “For 6,000 years marriage has been well-understood. It’s under radical assault now, radical re-definition.”