Mar 1, 2023 - Politics

Iowa Republicans propose banning gay marriage in state Constitution

Illustration of the state of Iowa casting a shadow made of the colors of the Pride flag.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Eight Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday proposing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa.

State of play: House Joint Resolution 8 proposes that Iowa, "recognizes the definition of marriage to be the solemnized union between one human biological male and one human biological female."

Details: Amending the Iowa Constitution requires the proposal to pass the House and Senate and then pass through the Legislature again during the next General Assembly.

  • If it passes this year, then again in 2025 or 2026, it then goes on ballots for a public vote.

Between the lines: Back in 2014, the majority of Iowans supported same-sex marriage and that number is likely even higher now, making it seem unlikely the amendment will pass.

Flashback: Iowa was the third state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously overturned a ban on it in 2009.

  • The decision in Varnum v. Brien also made Iowa the first Midwest state to allow gay marriage, six years before Obergefell v. Hodges legalized it nationally.

The big picture: The proposal comes as Iowa Republicans propose an unprecedented number of bills targeting our state's LGBTQ+ community.


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