The Iowa legislature’s first and only openly gay senator has introduced a bill which would recast two key words in a number of Iowa laws regarding marriage.
Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the bill will be needed if the Iowa Supreme Court upholds a district judge’s decision and gay marriage becomes legal in Iowa.. “I think it’s a good bill and it’s something that shouldn’t be controversial,” McCoy says. “We should just be thinking about how this is all going to work once Iowa becomes a Mecca for gay marriage.”
McCoy cites the president of the Iowa Family Policy Center as the source for the contention that Iowa will become a “Mecca” for gays and lesbians who wish to marry.
McCoy contends more gays and lesbians will choose to move to Iowa if gay marriage is legal here. “I think it’d be good for the economy,” McCoy says.
McCoy calls his bill the “Religious Freedom and Civil Martiage Protection Act.” It would remove the words “husband” and “wife” from Iowa laws and replace them with the word “spouse.”
“We just want to make sure that it’s gender neutral,” McCoy says.
Property rights, inheritance issues, health care decision-making and even banking and lending practices are governed by Iowa laws which make references to husbands and wives and McCoy’s bill would address all those instances. McCoy’s bill, however, isn’t expected to advance this year.
The Iowa Supreme Court heard from lawyers representing both sides in the gay marriage debate late last year, but a ruling on the case involving a handful of gay couples isn’t expected anytime soon.