S.O.S. says there’s another option for gay marriage opponents

Secretary of State Michael Mauro is the state's top election official.  According to Mauro, Iowa voters will be asked — on the statewide ballot in 2010 — whether they favor convening a constitutional convention to amend the state's constitution.  It means gay marriage opponents may seek to use that avenue to amend the state's constitution, perhaps opening up a Pandora's Box of other issues as well.  Will those who've been clamoring to give cities and counties authority over where large-scale hog lots are built unite with gay marriage opponents to push for a constitutional convention?  Will groups — like the coalition of road builders — oppose a constitutional convention, fearing they might lose the constitutional protection for the "Road Use Tax Fund" into which all state gas tax dollars are placed and used exclusively for road construction and maintenance?

Read more here.

Iowa became a U.S. territory in 1838.  In October of 1844, 72 men gathered in Iowa City to draft a state consitution.  A debate ensued over what the new state's borders would be — partly fueled by southerners' fears that Iowa would be an anti-slave state — and Iowa voters rejected the boundaries outlined in the draft from the first constitutional convention.  A second constitutional convention convened in May of 1846; congress changed the boundaries again and the residents of the Iowa territory accepted the newly-drawn map for the future state.  On December 28, 1846, President James K. Polk signed the bill which admitted Iowa as the 29th state.

In January of 1857, a third constitutional convention met to draft a new state constitution.  (The originally-ratified constitution outlawed banks and declared Iowa City as the state's capital; the 1857 document declared Des Moines the capital of Iowa.)  The people of Iowa (male voters; women weren't allowed to vote back then) ratified the new constitution in the summer of 1857.

Read Iowa's 1857 constitution.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Leave it to Vermont and Iowa to be the most progressive states in the nation, shame on us here in California for passing Prop 9. Whether you call it Gay Marriage or Civil Union, the basic premise is that every person should have equal rights. It’s good to see that some states are progressing, I made a list on my site of the states I think will legalize Gay Marriage first: http://www.toptentopten.com/topten/first+states+that+will+legalize+gay+marriage