Iowa social conservatives on Tuesday
will descend on the Capitol to pressure Senate President Mike
Gronstal to allow an amendment banning gay marriage to come up for a
vote in the chamber.
Opponents of the Iowa Supreme Court's
unanimous 2009 ruling legalizing gay marriage want lawmakers to
approve an amendment to the Iowa Constitution which would define
marriage as a heterosexual union.
Last year, the Republican-controlled
House easily approved the amendment, but Gronstal, a Democrat,
blocked the measure from reaching the Senate floor, angering
conservatives who have threatened to oust him.
“For two years, Senate President Mike
Gronstal has blocked every attempt to bring the marriage amendment to
a vote in the Senate,” said Brian Brown, president of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), a backer of Tuesday's rally. “The
amendment already passed the House last year, the first of four
legislative votes required before going to the ballot to be ratified
Gronstal has previously said that he
believes rights should not be put to a popular vote.
“People's rights should not be put to
a popular vote,” Gronstal said. “We didn't put slavery to a vote
of the people in Iowa. We didn't put the right to go to a school in
your neighborhood to a vote of the people, and we didn't put the
public accommodations law to a vote of the people in Iowa.”
The Let Us Vote! (LUV) rally in Des
Moines is sponsored by the Christian conservative group The Family
Leader, which is led by Bob Vander Plaats, a Sioux City businessman
whose unsuccessful 2010 campaign to govern the state was fueled
mostly on opposition to gay marriage.
“Yes we want to put pressure on
Senator Gronstal. It has stalled in the Senate. It's passed in the
Iowa House. We want to put pressure on Senator Gronstal to say, 'Let
it come up for a vote. Let the people of Iowa vote,'” Vander
Plaats said in a video promoting the rally. “And we need you to
tell your senator to tell Senator Gronstal to let it come up for a
vote. Don't let your senator be the one that gets in the way from
letting us vote on marriage.” (The video is embedded in the right
panel of this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
Also involved in the rally is
If lawmakers do not act this year, the
earliest voters could see the measure on the ballot would be 2016.