Both sides of the gay marriage issue are planning events for the start of the new legislative session in January. The Iowa Family Policy Center announced Monday it will hold a two-day event beginning at the state capitol on the second day of the legislative session January 12th. Center spokesman, Brian English, says the event if called “Two Days For Marriage.”
He says, “The 12th is an opportunity for the people of Iowa who support marriage, the only definition of marriage, which is one man and one woman, and or the constitutional separation of powers, to come together at the capitol building when all three branches of government are in the same place at the same time.” English says it is a show of solidarity asking the elected leaders to let Iowans vote on the Iowa marriage amendment.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in April that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution, and Democrats who control legislative debate say they will not allow a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. English says they encourage everyone to turn out and tell the elected leaders to allow a vote on the amendment.
English says when the people come forward and show legislators they want the right to vote, then it will “absolutely play into their thinking during the legislative session and very likely into the next election.” English says they will keep a continued presence at the capitol during the session as part of their LUV or “Let Us Vote” Iowa campaign.
“While leadership may dig in their heels and say, ‘no we are going to represent those special interest groups that write us campaign checks and not the people of Iowa’, they still have to maintain their caucus. And those members of their caucus who need to stand for re-election in 2010 are very likely to recognize a lot of faces throughout the course of the session who are coming and very politely saying, ‘let us vote’ on the Iowa marriage amendment. I believe that those members of that caucus will then carry that message to their leadership,” English says.
The group says bans on gay marriage have passed in 31 of 31 states where they’ve been put to a vote. “One Iowa”, a group that is fighting against the proposed Iowa constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is also planning a January event. One Iowa spokesman, Justin Uebelhor, says they will hold a rally on the Sunday before the legislative session begins for their “Red Blue Purple” campaign.
“I think the main message of the event is that equality should not be a partisan issue and we’re having individuals and groups representing a broad section of Iowans who are opposed to a constitutional amendment…that would ban same-sex marriage in Iowa,” Uebelhor says. Uebelhor says the legislature has other issues it needs to address.
He says from their prospective it is “improper to out equal rights to a public vote” and he says they think elected officials have a number of challenges they face. “And most voters I think would agree that our elected officials should be spending their time on things like the economy and record deficit that we have here in Iowa, rather than focusing on a sole divisive issue that would pit neighbor against neighbor,” Uebelhor says.
Uebelhor says legislators who are pressured to push for a the constitutional amendment should focus on improving the economy. Uebelhor says legislators should listen to their constituents who are asking them to focus on the economy and jobs. Iowa one four states that have same-sex marriages, and New Hampshire will make the fifth in January.