House Joint Resolution 6 was introduced yesterday in the House by State Representative Dwayne Alons (R-Hull). This begins the process to allow Iowans to vote on the definition of marriage. It would need to be passed by two consecutive General Assemblies and approved by Iowa voters. The earliest this amendment could be on the ballot is 2013. HJR 6 also prohibits the recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships. All but 4 of the Republican caucus cosponsored this bill.
The four who didn’t: State Representatives Peter Cownie (R-Des Moines), Steve Lukan (R-New Vienna), Scott Raecker (R-Urbandale) and David Tjepkes (R-Gowrie).
Raecker doesn’t surprise me, he’s a milquetoast on social issues. I don’t know Lukan or Tjepkes well enough. Cownie’s position does surprise me. Cownie told The Des Moines Register that he does plan to vote on the bill when it comes to the floor.
Cownie said he declined to sign as a sponsor of the bill at the request of some constituents in his district. However, he said that he would support the bill when it is voted on by the full House.
“I don’t treat it any differently than any other bills I don’t sponsor,” Cownie said. “It’s just my top priorities this year is the State Government committee as well as cutting the budget and putting Iowans back to work.”
I hope he follows through on that. I believe the only way these four will save themselves from a primary battle is to vote on the amendment. If they don’t I’m positive they’ll be challenged. They need to remember that marriage was also on the minds of Iowa voters in November as well.