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Update: Iowa House will debate gay marriage ban at 11 a.m. CST

The Iowa House will begin formal debate on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions and other domestic partnerships at 11 a.m. Tuesday, five hours earlier than originally scheduled. The change was made by Republican leadership, who said an impending winter storm set to hit the Midwest was the motivating factor.

Monday night, scores of Iowans spoke at a public hearing on House Joint Resolution 6, a Republican-backed bill that would amend the state’s constitution to say that “marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state.” With a 60-40 GOP majority in the House, the amendment is considered certain to pass. However, it faces long odds in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) has consistently said he will never allow it to come up for a vote.

Civil rights advocates have blasted the proposed resolution as nothing more than writing prejudice and discrimination into the constitution. Supporters of the amendment say Iowans deserve a chance to have their voices heard on the issue following the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous 2009 ruling which held that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

The debate will be broadcast online on the legislative website.

*This story has been altered since its original publication to reflect a change in the scheduled hearing. *

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