by desmoinesdem, Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 07:24:40 AM EDT
A few minutes ago Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy ruled out of order an attempt by Republicans to bring a resolution to the floor on amending Iowa's constitution to ban gay marriage. The resolution did not pass any House committee before last month's "funnel" deadline, so could only have reached the floor if leadership made an exception for it.
I will update this post as more news becomes available. You can read a couple of different play-by-play accounts on the Twitter feeds of journalist Charlotte Eby and Republican Representative Renee Schulte. It sounds as if leadership conferred for a while before Murphy ruled the resolution out of order. Iowa Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal, who refused to let a similar bill come to the Senate floor on Monday, was in the House chamber this morning speaking with House leaders.
Earlier today marriage equality opponents and supporters rallied at the Iowa capitol. I wasn't there, but Charlotte Eby provided the highlights. Former State Representative Danny Carroll told the crowd that politicians who don't listen to the word of God should be replaced. Someone doesn't seem to understand the constitution too well. Unfortunately for Carroll and fortunately for us, the voters of Iowa House district 75 sent him packing in 2006, and voted him down by a larger margin in his rematch against Eric Palmer last year.
One Iowa is the leading advocacy group for marriage equality in Iowa. If you support their cause, please donate to support their organizing and education efforts.
UPDATE with background: The bill in question, House Joint Resolution 6, proposes an amendment to the Iowa constitution stipulating that marriage is between one man and one woman (here is the text). The co-sponsors of HJR 6 are Republican Dwayne Alons (not one of the brightest lights in Iowa politics) and Democrat Dolores Mertz (the kind of Democrat who votes against good labor bills and buries bills that would reduce pollution from factory farms).
The Iowa legislature's "funnel" date passed in early March. Under the normal rules of operation, bills that did not clear at least one House or Senate committee by that time were dead for the 2009 session.
ANOTHER UPDATE: One Iowa says this is not over yet and is urging supporters of marriage equality to contact their representatives today.
House Switchboard: 515-281-3221
The Des Moines Register explains House Speaker Murphy's ruling:
Murphy's ruling today stemmed from the fact that the House cannot suspend rules it has enacted jointly with the Senate. House members can only suspend their own rules. The only way to suspend the joint rules is for someone to introduce a resolution in the Rules and Administration Committee. If it starts in the House, then theres a vote in House committee and in the full House. If it passes, it goes to Senate committee then a vote of the full Senate.
That explains why Senate leader Gronstal was in the House chamber this morning. The bill is HJR 6.
The Des Moines Register article also makes clear that House Republicans aren't giving up:
But Republicans hinted that they will make another run at the issue later today. Well just let the day unfold, said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha. He later added. The Legislature has a whole mass of rules and while you can use them sometimes to hide behind, sometimes they work to your advantage in other situations.
I don't pretend to know what rules he is referring to, but please tell all your friends in Iowa to contact their House representatives and ask them to respect the Iowa Supreme Court's decision in Varnum v Brien.