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

    No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

    Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


    The Second Time Around

    Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


    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