Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature have failed in their bid to force a vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, the Iowa Independent reported.

Because amending the Iowa Constitution requires the approval of two consecutive legislative sessions before going before the voters, the loss means the earliest voters could vote on the issue is 2014.

One Senate Democrat – Tom Hancock of Epworth – crossed the aisle to join all 18 Republicans who favor the measure. But the Senate's other 31 Democrats stood united against forcing a floor vote on the bill that remains stalled in committee.

A similar procedural move in the House also attracted only one Democrat, Representative Dolores Mertz of Ottosen.

Republicans remain fixated on the Iowa Supreme Court's April 3, 2009 ruling legalizing gay marriage and have vowed to overturn it. All of the state's Republican gubernatorial candidates favor putting a gay marriage ban in the Iowa Constitution. Only former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is campaigning for his old job, has suggested he favors recognizing gay unions, but remains opposed to gay marriage.

Last year, Republicans made several attempts to bring a similar measure to the floor. Democratic leaders, however, managed to block the efforts.