Feb 092011

By Tom Chapman

The marriage amendment, HJR 6, passed the Iowa House on Feb. 1 by a 62-37 vote and has been referred to the Senate State Government Committee. All Republicans and three Democrats voted for the resolution in the House following an emotional three-hour debate.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has vowed not to bring up the resolution for a vote in the Senate even if it would get out of committee. The Iowa Catholic Conference is asking members of our legislative network to contact their senator in support of a vote on the issue.

Also last week, Senate File 113 was assigned to a subcommittee of the Human Resources Committee in the Senate. We support the bill, which would place a rate cap of 36 percent on payday loans.

A religious conscience act, House Study Bill 50, which deals with conscience protections regarding marriage, has been introduced. Examples of the types of laws that could burden religious conscience without this bill: required Catholic school curriculum on marriage; rental of facilities; policy requiring all licensed counselors to provide relationship therapy to same-sex couples; and a policy requiring charitable organizations to stop doing adoptions if they will not place with same-sex couples. The Iowa Catholic Conference believes that without religious conscience protections, the ability of religious organizations to live out their teachings will be diminished.

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