Same-sex marriage ban dies without a whimper in Iowa House

Following up on this post from last month, the latest version of a state constitutional amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman in Iowa is dead for this legislative session. House Joint Resolution 4 didn’t make it so far as a subcommittee hearing, let alone passage by a full committee before the “funnel” deadline late last week.

Iowa House Judiciary Committee Chair Chip Baltimore never assigned the bill to any subcommittee. When I asked him about the status of the bill on February 24 (a month after the bill was introduced), Baltimore’s response was telling.

Chip Baltimore on marriage amendment photo Screen shot 2015-02-25 at 8.34.47 AM_zpsg2baaplp.png

He was alluding to Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen’s extraordinary personal intervention to make sure a bill raising the state gasoline tax made it through the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee, against the wishes of that committee’s chairman.

Long gone are the days when Paulsen pledged to move a marriage amendment through the Iowa House and did so quickly, putting the ball in the Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate’s court. This year, only one person on the eight-member Iowa House GOP leadership team even co-sponsored the marriage amendment (Speaker Pro Tem Matt Windschitl).

In an ideal world, we’d see Iowa House Republicans openly acknowledging the benefits of marriage equality. For now, I’ll settle for the majority of them quietly leaving well enough alone.

Bleeding Heartland has more posts in progress on which bills made it through the Iowa legislature’s first “funnel,” but feel free to post a guest diary on any particular bill or issue you’ve been watching at the statehouse.

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