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The state Supreme Court ruled 7-0 in 2009 that the Iowa constitution required the state to perform and recognize gay marriages. And while three of the judges were recalled in 2010, proposals to amend the state constitution to restore the traditional definition of marriage have been kept at bay by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and his Democratic majority.

“This is it. We are facing a special election, and marriage equality hangs in the balance,” said Troy Price, the executive director of gay marriage proponent One Iowa, in a statement. “If we lose the seat, we face a very real chance that a marriage ban will pass a vote in the Senate.”