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Iowans couldn’t care less about gay marriage

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2010

When the Iowa Supreme Court determined that denying state services based on sexual orientation was unconstitutional and that the State of Iowa must provide marriage equality, you could almost slice the glee of the Iowa Republican Party. Finally, there was an issue which they could use to perhaps increase their influence and maybe even win a few elections. So they because the “no gay marriage” party.

Last year they made several attempts at getting an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment up for a legislative vote and were unsuccessful. They chortled that Democrats would be sorry come election time.

But as it has turned out, running opposed to gay marriage has not proven to be a winning strategy. To their surprise, Iowans couldn’t care less about stopping gay folk from marrying. Literally.

The Des Moines Register conducted a poll of Iowans asking, “The state Legislature can address large and small issues during the course of the session. For the following issues, please tell me if you think the issue does or does not deserve the Legislature’s limited time.” Banning gay marriage did not make the cut; only 36% thought it was worth the time discussing.

Not only was it not deemed worthy of legislative time, of the six issues that Iowans were questioned about, addressing gay marriage concerned them the least. Iowans were more concerned about payday loans and puppy mills than they were about whether same-sex couples married.

This lack of interest appears to be reflected in a change in strategy in the campaigns of Republicans running for the party’s nomination for governor. Just a brief while ago they were all running to see who could be more extreme and reactionary.

Bob Vander Plaats pledged to halt such weddings with an executive order (an authority the governor does not wield) while Chris Rants declared that he’d veto every bill that reached his desk until the legislature voted on a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. Most of them supported calling for a constitutional convention so they wouldn’t have to wait for two sessions and a popular vote.

Only former governor Terry Branstad, also an opponent of gay marriage, chose not to run as a raving loon. Branstad took a more nuanced approach and expressed recognition of the difficulties that gay couples face when denied certain rights.

But that has changed. The race now appears to be between Branstad and Vander Plaats, and the latter has now discovered a different campaign strategy. (Register)

I’ve talked to Vander Plaats from time to time, but hadn’t really seen him out on the stump since last fall. His speeches used to give prime attention to conservative issues and gay marriage. This time, he focused entirely on job creation, state spending and education. Nobody even asked about the social issues.

I mentioned to him afterward that was a significant change from last summer, when he told me in an interview that he thought the election would hinge on two issues: gay marriage and the state smoking ban.

“Did I say that?” he asked. Yes, I told him.

“Campaigns always evolve, no doubt about it,” he said. (He didn’t mention the smoking ban at all today.)

Yes, there is no doubt that campaigns evolve, especially when the voters care less about your pet issue than they do about monitoring dog breeders.

Comments

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Ray
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

And I wrongly accused Iowa of being boring. Thanks the wake-up. Iowa sounds like the center of the Sane Universe. The further away you get, the weirder.

soren456
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Proofread much?

Fix your typos and missed words, and I’ll come back and read the story.

Ben in Oakland
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve always thought that the opposition to gay marriage was mostly imaginary. By that i mean, that unless The Usual Suspects– the professional homophobes, the fauxmily values crowd, and the meretricious rabble rousers– show up and actually start a campaign, and fund it, and involve The Other Usual Suspects– the fearful, the ignorant, and the garden-variety-bigoted– nobody really cares about gay marriage beyond the families affected. It is of no more moment than an interacial or interfaith couple getting married. We’re just intrasexual.

It’s important to remember that Prop. 8 was decided by just 17% of the eligble electorate– the other 83% either supported marriage equality or didn’t think it was important enough to bother to register to vote. In Maine, it was 26% who cared.

So this poll should surprise no one. Apathy as a political force that advances progressive values and forces candidates with nothing to say to actually address issues!

Is this country beyond fab or what?

Richard W. Fitch
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

soren456
February 8th, 2010 | LINK
Proofread much?

Fix your typos and missed words, and I’ll come back and read the story.

Unless you are willing to help turn BTB into a paid-subscription blog site, do your own editing/proofreading and be grateful for the hours of work that goes into finding and reporting the info provided here.

Eddie89
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Wow! This is awesome for the State of Iowa!!!

It should also be mentioned here that the fine, hard working folks over at One Iowa certainly deserve a lot of credit for the marriage equality campaign they have been running in Iowa!

Their ads and reaching out to Iowa citizens has been exemplary!

Equality California should take notes!!!

sam
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

If soren456 has time to whine and be an ass then I can certainly take the time to thank everyone at BTB for the work they do. I appreciate the reporting done here, but just as much I appreciate the discussion both in the posts and in the comments. Thank you all very much.

Gypsy78
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Hey Soren!
You’re a loser!
Thanks Jim, tim and everyone else at btb for all your hard work.

Lindoro Almaviva
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Guys, guys, guys:

In solding Soren, we have committed the same sin that we are accusing him of: being too judgmental. After all, he does have a point and there are a couple of edits that need to happen and they do need to be pointed out. That being said…

Soren, are you aware that the site is running short staffed because one of the editors had to jump on a plane and travel to OH because there was a death in the family?

On a day like today, we are being specially tolerant of any issues with editing because the editors do need some latitude. How about taking that attitude and putting a lid on it for a day or 2?

Lindoro Almaviva
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Make that scolding…

Ron
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

The link to the Des Moines Register poll: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20102080322

Aya
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

As someone who moved OUT of the Midwest to California in search of a more progressive view on same-sex equality, I’m sort of kicking myself right now. When I went home to visit my parents in Iowa for the holidays, not once (even a little) did I hear anyone mention anything about gay marriage (except online, but the people doing the talking weren’t from Iowa). It was actually pretty nice. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Priya Lynn
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

Aya, if you want to move somewhere with a more progressive view on same sex equality, come to Canada.

Iowan
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

I’m happy to see the Iowa legislature pass on denying rights, and I’m a hetero generally voting republican (really a libertarian, but…). Talking to my fellow iowans (been one for 50 years), only the rabid people who think they don’t know any gay people worry about this issue. Anyway, please come to Davenport and get married! We have gorgeous old neighborhoods, a tolerant citizenry (mostly – always a few turds), and intelligent workforce, close (enough) to Chicago for the weekends… come on over!

soren456
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

Whatever.

Writers, editors and readers who can’t be criticized are impressive people, indeed.

I’ll stand with what I said.

Confused syntax, slapdash and indifference don’t make for a quality blog, and do nothing to reinforce its credibility.

Writers and editors take care routinely to check their work–and correct their errors–on the tightest deadlines, and in challenging circumstances.

To point this out is hardly ingratitude, nor is it rudeness, nor does it deserve name-calling.

Timothy Kincaid
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

Does anyone get the sense that soren456 still hasn’t figured out that this is an unpaid project by people (an engineer and an accountant) who have full time jobs and do this in their spare time?

I guess we should be complemented that we are confused with the blogsites that have full time staff, paid writers and editors, and deadlines.

Concerned Iowans are very….not concerned : The Household Darke
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

[…] source. […]

James
February 9th, 2010 | LINK

No need to diminish one issue to make another seem bigger. Puppy mills are legitimately atrocious, and banning them would be a fine priority for any legislature.

Priya Lynn
February 10th, 2010 | LINK

I think Soren456 is one of those people who thinks it makes him look good to put others down and his ego needs that kind of stroking so he can feel good about himself.

Camels With Hammers
February 10th, 2010 | LINK

As far as I’m concerned, any blog that writes “couldn’t care less” instead of “could care less” is okay in my book, regardless of what minor typos there might otherwise be.

I know firsthand how hard it is to blog around full-time responsibilities and so really, really appreciate not only your efforts but your consistently valuable results.

Priya Lynn
February 10th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, I agree. I think given that the people producing this blog have full time jobs what they’ve produced here is a virtual miracle.

Jason D
February 10th, 2010 | LINK

I dunno, it’s kinda nifty that soren is so much more concerned about proper grammar and syntax than he is about gay marriage in Iowa.

Hope?

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