There are two possible ways that Iowa could attempt to amend its constitution to stop same-sex marriage:
- Hold a constitutional convention. As I understand it, Iowa voters could vote in 2010 to hold a convention in 2011; the legislature would then determine how to elect delegates for the convention.
- Use the ordinary legislative process. As I understand it, the legislature could vote this year or next year to place an amendment on the ballot in 2012. In 2011, they would have to again vote in favor of doing so. If the legislature doesn't vote this year or next year to put it on the ballot, then the earliest it could happen is 2014.
And the legislature isn't going to vote this year to put an amendment on the ballot, because Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal isn't going to let that happen. In a YouTube video, Gronstal explains why he's blocking efforts to start the amendment process. His statement seems to me a little rambly and not very focused, but I loved what he said at the end:
As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know I've been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.
I've been getting teary about this stuff all day, and that statement did it again. Go, Senator Gronstal!
Also on YouTube: Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy discusses Iowa's history with regard to civil rights landmark rulings. McCoy is the first openly gay Iowa legislator, and he says some great stuff about Iowa (I didn't watch the whole video, mostly just read the transcript in the info box on the right side of the page):
In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided that issue.
[...I'm leaving out his other examples...]
Today Iowans are sending a message to young people, both gay and straight. If you're looking for a great place to live, a place where people treat their neighbors with respect, come to Iowa to work, invest, and raise a family.
Meanwhile, the Atlantic has a nice little interview with Dennis Johnson, lead co-counsel for the same-sex couples in the Iowa case. Good stuff.