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Old 03-15-2005, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I need some help guys!

My glorious and previously accepting state of Iowa just passed legislation (54-44) making marriage in the state valid only between a man and a woman. This has me bursting at the seams with commentary and I don't have anywhere to vent. How can I let my reps and my senators know what I'm thinking? And possibly how others can let them know as well. I've found the personal homepages of both my senators (D-Harkin, R-Grassley). Do I just email them my thoughts on the matter? I've never felt more helpless about the issue, maybe because this groundless fear and intolerance has finally hit home.

Edit: Here's the official story from tonight: http://www.dmregister.com/apps/pbcs..../50315004/1001

Quote:
House supports anti-gay marriage amendment

By JONATHAN ROOS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
March 15, 2005
Supporters of a constitutional ban on gay marriage won their first major battle in the Iowa Legislature today, but opponents vowed the victory would be short-lived.

The House approved, 54-44, a constitutional amendment declaring that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in Iowa.

The state already has such a law on the books, but supporters argued the gay marriage ban must be enshrined in the constitution to protect it from legal challenges like those that have been mounted in other states.

"We didn't bring this fight on. We feel like the institution of marriage is being attacked through the judicial body," said Michael Hartwig, vice president of Marriage Matters of Iowa.

Opponents countered that the proposal is based on fear and carries a message of intolerance.

"The state is seen as unwelcoming...It's a tool to stop population and economic growth," said Sandy Vopalka, a gay rights lobbyist representing Equality Iowa.

She and her partner have been together for five years. "I don't see that our relationship has been any different from the families represented by the legislators," Vopalka said.

The fight now shifts to the Senate, which defeated a similar proposal a year ago.

"I'd be surprised if we could even get agreement to bring it up in committee. I don't see any willingness on the part of Senate Democrats to debate it," said Senate Republican Co-President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny.

The Senate is split 25-25 between Democrats and Republicans, forcing the two parties to share power.

To become part of the Iowa Constitution, House Joint Resolution 1 would have to be endorsed by the current Legislature either this year or next year and the next General Assembly in either 2007 or 2008, then win voter approval in a statewide referendum.
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Last edited by Fourtyrulz; 03-15-2005 at 08:43 PM..
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anything i can do to help?
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourtyrulz
My glorious and previously accepting state of Iowa just passed legislation (54-44) making marriage in the state valid only between a man and a woman. This has me bursting at the seams with commentary and I don't have anywhere to vent. How can I let my reps and my senators know what I'm thinking? And possibly how others can let them know as well. I've found the personal homepages of both my senators (D-Harkin, R-Grassley). Do I just email them my thoughts on the matter? I've never felt more helpless about the issue, maybe because this groundless fear and intolerance has finally hit home.
If their email addresses are included on the page, then yeah. Just write it like you would an actual letter, and they should get it and read it. Maybe even respond.
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Old 03-15-2005, 09:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I doubt writing your Senators will help - they operate at the national level. However, I highly suggest writing your State Senator and Congressman about the issue.

I just attended a panel last Friday that included 6 Iowa State Senators and Congressmen. The focus of the panel was overcoming partisanship in the fact of an almost perfectly divided legislature (25-25 in the Senate, Repubs hold only 2 more seats in the House).

The consensus from the legislatures - both Dems and Repubs, including House Speaker Danny Carroll - was that things are very difficult in to get done in the legislatures because of the divided Senate. In fact, this very Constitutional Amendment was sponsored by Danny Carroll. There was a lively debate over whether or not Danny should be spending precious time on the amendment because it had a 0% chance of passing the Senate, which everyone acknowledges.

So I wouldn't get too wound up - this one is dead in the water. Luckily.

EDIT - By the way, the reason the article mentions that the amendment won't make it into committee is that the power-sharing arrangement in the Iowa Senate gives each committee two chairs, one for a Republican and one for a Democrat. Both chairs must agree to let that bill into committee - meaning that either one can simply not allow it in. This is how the amendment will be stopped in the Senate before it even will get started.
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Last edited by guy44; 03-15-2005 at 09:04 PM..
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