A dramatic anti-gay marriage protest
was staged yesterday at the Iowa Capitol as lawmakers attempted to
force a vote on the issue, reports Radio Iowa.
Hundreds of protesters dressed in red –
believed to represent the blood of Jesus Christ – swarmed into the
gallery of the House to give Republican House Minority Leader Kraig
Paulsen support as he attempted to push through a bill that calls for
placing a gay marriage ban in the state constitution.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled
unanimously last Friday to legalize gay marriage in the Hawkeye
State. The ruling takes effect April 24. The following Tuesday,
Vermont lawmakers legalized gay marriage by narrowly overriding the
Members of the Iowa Family Policy
Center first held a prayer rally on the steps of the Capitol.
Rev. Keith Ratliff, the head of the
Iowa/Nebraska chapter of the NAACP, prayed: “Let them understand,
oh God, that your way is the way that we must live, that separation
of church and state did not mean that man should live unholy.”
Inside the chamber, Paulsen attempted
to invoke two rules. He first called on a rule that immobilizes
representatives to ensure all members remain seated for a difficult
Then, the Republican from Hiawatha
attempted to yank a stalled gay marriage ban bill out of committee
and force the House to immediately consider it. Confusion ruled in
the chamber before House Speaker Pat Murphy, a gay marriage
supporter, ruled out of order Paulsen's efforts to bypass the
“Let us vote,” chanted the red
shirts in the gallery.
The dramatic protest ended where it had
begun: no closer to forcing a vote on the issue. Amending the
constitution in Iowa is a time consuming process that requires
approval from two consecutive legislative sessions before it can be
voted on by the people.
The Iowa General Assembly has begun to
wind down this session and yesterday's motions make it unlikely the
measure will get a hearing this session.