Iowa lawmakers bring forward legislation to ban same-sex marriage

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:07 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa lawmakers have introduced two pieces of legislation to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

One would change the Iowa Constitution so it would read that marriage would be defined as only between a biological female and a biological male. A bill proposed by largely the same representatives was introduced to protect religious liberty and state sovereignty and stated that marriage was to be between a male and a female.

The legislation was brought forward on the same day Jim Obergerfell was speaking about the work he did in order to marry his longtime partner John. Obergerfell was pivotal in making same-sex marriage legal in his home state of Ohio and taking the case to the US Supreme Court so he could marry John, who was dying from ALS.

“We got married inside a chartered medical jet on the tarmac of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport,” he said. “That was all we wanted.”

Obergerfell won the case, and when John died 3-months later, they were recognized as a married couple.

“We made those promises public and legal, and he died a married man,” said Obergefell.

His story was one that was seen and heard around the country, inspiring others like Benton Renaud of Ames.

“I remember reading articles in my bedroom about the decision and to have that figure you saw growing up who inspired you to become the person you are was something that was so valuable,” said Renaud.

Despite watching history unfold so he, too, could marry who he wants, Renaud worried these pieces of legislation would spark a similar fight if they gained traction.

“We are just people who want to have the same rights,” he said. “We want to be able to get married and live normal lives,” he said.

Obergefell said he wasn’t surprised about the backward movement on LGBTQ+ rights, but he wants fairness for people like Benton.

“We want to exist, we want the dignity and respect that comes with having the most important relationship in your life recognized by the state you call home,” said Obergefell.

TV9 reached out to the lawmakers in our area who supported the proposals. We have not heard back.