A top Iowa civil rights panel voted in
favor of backing gay marriage Thursday.
The resolution, passed by the six
member Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), says: “The ICRC
supports the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision on civil marriage
equality for all adults and opposes efforts to pass a constitutional
amendment to overturn the decision. The Commission believes that
other civil rights issues remain to be resolved in Iowa and that
Iowans should re-dedicate their efforts to ending discrimination for
all Iowans. Iowa has a long-standing tradition of treating all
Iowans fairly and this decision is symbolic of Iowa's historic
protection of equal rights for all.”
The resolution was approved
The Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay
marriage on April 3. The seven-justice panel ruled without dissent
that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. The
opinion is considered one of the strongest in favor of gay marriage
Social conservatives in the state have
called for placing a gay marriage ban in the Iowa Constitution.
Democratic lawmakers blocked efforts by Republicans to begin the
legislative process before the session ended. All 5 leading
gubernatorial candidates for 2010 oppose gay marriage, including
frontrunner Bob Vander Plaats, who says if elected he'll sign an
executive order placing a stay on gay marriages and force a vote on
the issue. Others have called for the ouster of justices, three of
which will be up for retention in 2010.
ICRC Executive Director Ralph Rosenberg
told On Top Magazine that the panel has actively supported gay
and lesbian issues in the past, including gay marriage.
“Given some public discussion over a
possible constitutional amendment, the Commission decided to re-visit
and update its position,” Rosenberg said in an email.
The panel first addressed gay marriage
in 2006 with a statement opposing a constitutional ban, and the
commission supports gay rights, Rosenberg said.
“Our Commission was very active and a
leading advocate in the 2007 expansion of the civil rights law to
include members of the GLBT community and to also achieve passage of
the safe schools law for GLBT students,” he said.
Unlike states such as California which
allow voter-initiated amendments, a constitutional amendment must be
approved by legislators before heading to voters in Iowa.