Iowa House Joint Resolution 11 to Overturn Marriage Equality Out of Step (Blog)

One Iowa Executive Director condemns HJR11– the new marriage ban introduced in the Iowa House by 35 House Republicans.


A Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa specifying marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state.

We’d like to think that Iowa legislators are in step with their constituents – the people they represent and the voters who put them in office. Today, though, I have to wonder. Because today, a group of 35 Iowa Republican House members filed a bill that would exclude gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage.

I have to ask this group of 35 if they are thinking about the approximately 6,000 couples who married after the Varnum ruling? Are they thinking about those loving and committed couples and their families' future in Iowa? I have to ask, do you not represent every Iowan in your district?

What message is sent when an elected official publicly declares in his or her sponsorship of a shameful and harmful bill that some people are more equal than others in Iowa simply because of who they are and the person they love?

I’d like to ask this elected official what his or her goal is? Do they understand how out of step they are? Do they understand that we are talking about people, not politics?

This bill should not pass the House and will certainly not pass the Iowa Senate. So, why are these 35 members so invested in excluding some Iowans from marriage?

It’s important to take a moment to applaud the 18 House Republicans and the 47 House Democrats who declined to sign onto this harmful resolution. Their leadership is exemplary.

As I write this, the only lobbyist working in support of the joint resolution is Greg Baker of The Family Leader. And as we know, The Family Leader is very clear about where it stands on marriage. In a recent editorial, President & CEO of The Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats griped about "Republican elites" pushing for acceptance of LGBT civil marriage rights.

He ended with a clarion call to action: “The Family Leader rejects the spoken message and the chosen silence which undermines the institution of marriage. I hope you will choose to stand with us as we stand for life, for marriage, for family...for Truth!”

On Monday of this week, a Family Leader email groused about how hard it was to get even 35 members of the Iowa House to co-sponsor the so-called Iowa Marriage Amendment. That missive ended with an encouragement for its membership to petition their representatives.

Are these 35 members dancing to Bob Vander Plaats’ tune? Knowing that marriage is secure, are they simply making good on their promise to him and his organization? Is this one in a string of Family Leader issues that they are lock-step behind? Do these members truly represent their constituencies? Are they meeting with families in their districts and having real conversations about issues of importance, or are they simply doing what they are told?

Over the past few months, we have witnessed extraordinary conversations about marriage. We have seen GOP leadership sign on to an amicus brief urging full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples and the overturn of Proposition 8. We have heard from Iowa Republicans and conservatives, including Jeff Angelo and David Kochel, about why supporting marriage is supporting true family values. We have talked with families and faith leaders in public places and in quiet spaces across the state about the freedom to marry. The overwhelmingly positive response is heartening and inspiring.

So it begs the question: Why?

What should our representatives be working on? I would think that health and education, transportation, agriculture, the environment and our infrastructure would top the list. I would like to see the decriminalization of AIDS/HIV in the state. I would like to make sure that we are addressing the needs of our most vulnerable Iowans. The fact that I will marry the woman I love this year should not be on anyone’s list of issues to work against.

For nearly four years the freedom to marry has been an Iowan reality. It’s a good thing. People are getting married. Some are moving to Iowa, along with their families, to get married. Some are staying in Iowa to stay married. We pay our taxes. We shovel our sidewalks. We are good neighbors and colleagues. Our families are important and precious to us. We are good for Iowa.

Yet for some reason, these 35 members and Mr. Vander Plaats continue to work against us. They continue to work against loving and committed couples, and quite frankly I still do not understand why.

So what can you do? You can call your legislators today and help us make a difference. The House switchboard phone number is 515-281-3221. Click here to find your Representative. Or, if you prefer to email your legislator, click here.

  • The introduction of House Joint Resolution 11 is a shameful attempt to politicize Iowa families.We deserve leaders who stand for true family values.
  • We don't support the passage of any marriage ban. Our legislators should be focusing on creating jobs, strengthening our economy, and making our schools better, not spending time passing legislation that hurts Iowa families.
  • If your Representative didn't support HR11: Thank you for representing ALL Iowa families. {SHARE YOUR STORY}
  • If your Representative DID support HR 11: Ask them to remember that a majority of Iowans don't support a marriage ban passing through the Legislature.
  • Remind them that LGBT people are their constituents, and are our coworkers, our friends, our family members, our spouses. Share your story and ask them to focus on the issues that matter to Iowans: jobs, the economy, and education.

The bill will be heard first in the House Judiciary Committee. After you contact your Representatives, please contact the Representatives on the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to oppose HJR11:


So what do you say? Stand with us for justice TODAY and help us defeat this bill.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sarah Elizabeth March 06, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Of course not! It's shameful that anyone would want to legislate bias and inequality here in Iowa!
Jason M. March 06, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Because there are education, finances, infrastructure and health care to worry about.
Larry Carter Center March 06, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Bigotry is not a "definition" it is a arrogant claim of superiority over a class of victims.... Marriage is the union of two people who love one another, the purpose of marriage is sharing, nurturing & building up a family. Families are not defined as "breeding pairs" but instead as two or more people who are making life promises to one another, blended families include a parent with children who marries a person not the birth parent of such children and co-parenting usually is the result of such a marriage.....THERE ARE many many WELCOMING CONGREGATIONS in Iowa who do not discriminate against couples according to sex. We only need 3 more states to RATIFY E.R.A. Springfield, Tallahassee & Richmond ARE likely states to GET UR DUN this year 843-926-1750 @AtheistVet Iowa's Only Political Prisoner of Theocracy 1990 exiled in Charleston, SC 29407
Mark Cooper March 06, 2013 at 05:10 PM
The folks that you need to contact are the folks with an "R" behind their names. I have talked to my Representative Jo Oldson and she is opposed to this non sense as are any Democrat I have talked to.
Donna Red Wing March 07, 2013 at 12:52 PM
We listed the members of the House Judiciary Committee, not the '35'. It is important that they hear from you.


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