New poll in Iowa shows broad opposition to constitutional same-sex marriage ban

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If you buy the results of a new Quinnipiac University poll, Iowans like legal same-sex marriages considerably more than the court ruling that allowed those unions to happen.

According to the poll of 1,256 voters surveyed July 12-15, 55 percent of Iowans oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, with 36 percent in favor. The poll's margin of error is +/- 2.8 percent.

Only three demographic groups broken out within the polling data supported an amendment, Republicans 58-33, born again Evangelical Christians 61-34 and protestants who attend church weekly, 56-36. Overall, Democrats, Independents, men, women, protestants, Catholics, including those who attend church weekly, Iowans with and without college degrees, all income groups and age levels, even Iowans over 65, oppose an amendment.

But the April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that struck down Iowa's ban on same-sex marriages is favored by just a 47-44 margin in the poll. The ruling is unpopular with Republicans, men, Iowans without college degrees, older Iowans, Evangelicals and both Catholics and protestants who attend church weekly.

Curiously, of those surveyed, 18 percent oppose the ruling but also oppose an amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

And by a 57-31 margin, Iowans polled believe that if an amendment did pass, it would be struck down by the courts. Not one demographic group though it would be upheld.

So of the two campaigns that opponents of marriage equality waged - bash the courts and stop the weddings -- one had an impact, while the other has proven to be a monumental flop. A fair number of Iowans, already distrustful and unhappy with government and public institutions for myriad reasons, have been receptive of the argument, though flawed, that un-elected judges went too far. Those Iowans bounced three Supreme Court justices from the bench.

But the crusade to deny hundreds of Iowa couples access to civil marriage rights has largely failed. We heard the dire predictions of moral decay and social problems and have seen nothing of the sort. We've gotten to know these couples and appreciate why they fought this battle. There's no need to amend the Iowa Constitution.

That doesn't mean the debate ends. But it is interesting to see a full one-third of Republicans now oppose an amendment.


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