Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


What Do Iowans Think About Gay Marriage?

Bookmark and Share

The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to uphold an August 2007 lower-court decision that found the Hawkeye State law limiting marriage to a man and a woman unconstitutional is not likely to be met with strong support statewide, according to public opinion polls of Iowans conducted during the last few years.

The decision, written by Justice Mark S. Cady and reached unanimously by all seven justices, found the Iowa state law violated the principle of equal protection.

Iowa residents, however, have not exactly warmed to the notion of legalizing gay marriage, in a Smart Politics analysis of nearly a dozen polls taken of the issue during the last five years.

When asked whether they supported or opposed the legalization of gay marriage, an average of only 33.8 percent of Iowans favored legalization, across eight polls conducted by the Des Moines Register, the Humphrey Institute, and SurveyUSA from 2003 through 2008. An average of 57.5 percent of Iowans opposed legalization of a marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Opposition to gay marriage has remained fairly steady in the most recent polls, with 56 percent against legalization in March 2007, 55 percent in April 2007, and 56 percent in May 2007, June 2007, and January 2008 (SurveyUSA).

When Rasmussen asked 500 likely Iowa voters in July 2006 whether marriage should be defined in terms of a union between a man and a woman or between any two people including same sex couples, two-thirds (66 percent) stated the definition should be between a man and a woman. Only 30 percent said it should be defined as between any two people.

The only remedy at this stage for those Iowans opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriages is to amend the State Constitution – a process which would take several years. However, when polled about such an amendment back in 2004 by MSNBC/Knight-Ridder/Mason-Dixon, 56 percent of likely Iowa voters supported it, with just 33 percent opposed.

With this new Supreme Court decision, Iowa joins Massachusetts and Connecticut as the only states permitting same-sex marriages.

The Iowa Supreme Court is comprised of two justices who were appointed by long-serving Republican Governor Terry E. Brandstad (Cady in 1998 and Chief Justice Marsha K. Ternus in 1993). An additional four justices were appointed by Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack (Michael J. Streit in 2001, David S. Wiggins in 2003, Daryl L. Hecht in 2006, and Brent R. Appel in 2006). One justice was appointed by current Democratic Governor Chet Culver (David L. Baker in 2008).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Marty Seifert: His Own Kind of Republican
Next post: Is Minnesota the Most Democratic-Friendly State in the Midwest?

3 Comments


  • The whole debate around same-sex marriage is highly reminiscent of the debate surrounding interracial marriage throughout Jim Crow. Anti-miscegenation laws, as they were called, were predicated on entrenched ideas of inequality and popular standards for "morality". However, the High Court ultimately ruled in Virginia v. Loving (1967) that marriage is a fundamental right. Though this precedent has been tested against on issue of same-sex marriage in multiple state courts and found not to have holding, I think that the issue remains that marriage as a public institution is a fundamental human right. In that light, moral standards should not be set by popular opinion of the day, but rather by the moral compass that underlies our constitution.

  • I dont see no harm in same sex marriage after all why should'nt they are they not already in a steady relationship. Marriage is just a piece of paper.

  • I fully understand the need for same sex partners to have a legalized unon in which there is protection for both in the case of separation, death, etc. I'm still not sure that it needs the title of marriage.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Mary Burke: English First?

    While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting