Campaign to overturn the freedom to marry in Iowa looks increasingly unlikely

Since 2009, when the Iowa Supreme Court declared that the state's ban on same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional, anti-gay activists have been looking for ways to overturn the freedom to marry in the state. Marriage opponents have been working to elect a conservative Republican majority to Congress in order to legislatively repeal the freedom to marry. Now, however, it looks like the viability of reversing the law - even if a Republican majority does take hold in November - is increasingly unlikely. With growing support for the freedom to marry among Iowa's residents and a sweeping trend of majority support nationwide, Iowa's anti-gay faction is realizing that the momentum is favoring the freedom to marry in the state.

This morning, the Associated Press reported on the state of the freedom to marry in Iowa: 

Republicans can move to end gay marriage if they win two more seats in the state Senate this year, a goal that could be within reach. That would give them full control of the statehouse and the power to begin preparing a public referendum on the issue.

But the legislative process would take at least two years, and public interest in the cause is already declining. A Des Moines Register poll in February showed 56 percent of Iowans opposed an amendment banning gay marriage, up slightly from a year earlier. The results tracked with the trend in national opinion on the issue.

The atmosphere is much changed from 2010, when conservative advocacy groups mounted a major media campaign against gay marriage and won removal of three justices who had voted to strike down the state ban. 

In the three years that same-sex couples have been allowed to legally wed in Iowa, around 4,500 have done so. A May 2012 poll from Public Policy Polling found that support for the freedom to marry is mounting in the state, while opposition steadily declines. 62 percent of respondents in the poll said that the freedom to marry has had no impact on their lives, while 14 percent have said it has had a positive impact on their lives. Only 27 percent of respondents said they opposed any sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples. 

If a ballot initiative were to pass through the state legislature at all, the earliest possible time it could do so would be in 2015. In that time, public support for the freedom to marry will almost certainly continue to grow while opposition in Iowa will almost certainly continue to decline. 

Voices in support of the freedom to marry will become increasingly important in states like Iowa, the "swing states" where the population is still divided on many issues. As more Iowans - including residents, lawmakers, and other public figures - announce their support for the freedom to marry, the campaign will become less and less of an issue, and same-sex couples will no longer have any roadblocks to threaten their ability to share in the love and commitment of marriage.