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Will Desire to Gain Voters Prompt Iowa GOP to Change Course on Gay Marriage – Or at Least Muzzle Activists?

A cultural war is taking place within the Republican Party. In Iowa, where gay marriage opponents and social conservatives Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have come out winners in the first-in-the-nation caucus, the conversation is critically important.


The first article in a two-part series. Read Part 2, Fight Against Gay Marriage? Not if Iowa GOP Wants Young Voters, on Iowa City Patch.

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Troubled by polling data that shows traditional positions on issues like same-sex marriage are costing elections, the Republican Party is going through what its leaders politely call a period of introspection.

More brutally, it's a question of whether the GOP can hold its nose and keep quiet on same-sex marriage and other social issues in order to welcome in a new group of young voters whose priorities center more on fiscal values than family values.

The conversation is critically important – and difficult – in Iowa, where the results of first-in-the-nation caucuses and the Straw Poll leading up to the early presidential contest are increasingly criticized as reflecting a deeply fractured state party that hasn't produced any successful national standard-bearers recently.

Gay marriage critics Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the caucuses in 2012 and 2008, respectively, in both case submarining past a better funded and more moderate Mitt Romney. Both dropped out of the race when their campaigns failed to gain traction with a majority of American voters who describe themselves in polls as increasingly comfortable with the idea of gay families, with mixed feelings on other social value positions.

Iowa may have one more chance to get it right – or at least right of center.

“There’s some concern Iowa could lose the caucuses because we push people too far into ideological corners,” said Mike Mahaffey, a former state Republican chairman. “2016 is important for the future of the caucuses in the state of Iowa.”

Gay Marriage a Non-Starter Issue Among Young Voters

If they needed one after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s crushing loss in November, the post-election Gallup Poll was a wake-up call for Republicans.

More than half of Americans – 53 percent – think that same-sex marriages should be recognized as valid, according to Gallup. That’s up from 40 percent in 2008, which was up from 35 percent in 1999.

Among young voters aged 18-29, 73 percent support same-sex marriage.

Almost a third of them were Republicans. The poll also showed that 22 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) voters supported Romney in the November election.

The poll clearly shows the GOP needs more voters like University of Iowa student Tim O’Hara, 22, who voted for Romney, but also supports gay marriage. He argued that the GOP’s anti-gay-marriage stance doesn't make him a Democratic voter by default.

However, O'Hara thinks the GOP could pick up some moderate voters by dialing back sharp political rhetoric and said he “wishes they would stop” making the issue a priority.

“It doesn’t push me away from the party because I don’t want to vote for a liberal who’s going to make a federal law about it,” said O’Hara, a senior from Oak Park, IL.

David Yepsen, a political analyst, concurred with that thinking.

“It’s not just that Republicans are losing the votes of gays and lesbians, it’s a porthole issue to the votes of younger Americans,” said Yepsen, who covered politics for the Des Moines Register for 34 years and now heads the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Yepsen said Republicans did poorly with people under the age of 24, those voters who are much more comfortable with gay marriage and gay rights.

“It’s an age thing," Yepsen said. "One reason it became acceptable in the U.S. military in the space of about 10 years is that younger troops said they didn’t have a problem with it. In the older days, they did.”

“I’m a firm believer that all the right things happen for all the wrong reasons. ... These are conversations they wouldn’t be having if Mitt Romney had won,” Yepsen said.

As a political issue, gay marriage is a non-starter with many young Republicans and Libertarian-leaning Independents, said Tim Hagle, an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa.

"Speaking in general, they're concerned with more economic things than the social stuff: the economy, getting a job, things of that nature,” Hagle said. "It's just not as important as a major issue that's going to make them vote for one candidate over another."

GOP voter Creighton Cox of Urbandale, where he’s a city councilman, said religious convictions about issues like marriage have no place in the political discourse and shouldn’t be used to “prevent services … to a couple that wants to get married.”

He thinks the Republican party needs to abandon opposition to gay marriage as a priority issue. “The economy, fiscal responsibility, education and public safety should be the things the GOP should focus on,” Cox said. “Inclusion, not exclusion, will help foster a stronger GOP.”

Stability and Other Family Values

That’s exactly the message two Republican strategists – including the now openly gay architect of President George W. Bush’s successful 2004 campaign – brought to Iowa last week.

Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush’s campaign, and David Kochel, Romney’s Iowa campaign strategist, made the case that it’s politically pragmatic to ease up on social issues, such as stopping the struggle against legalized gay marriage. Not only that, they argued, it’s completely in keeping with conservative values such as personal liberty and limiting government.

Former state legislator Jeff Angelo of Ames, whose Iowa Republicans for Freedom group brought Mehlman and Kochel to Iowa, said many of the same arguments conservatives cite in their opposition to gay marriage can be used to support it – even the “family values” morality and religious freedom arguments.

Angelo, a same-sex marriage opponent during a 12-year stint in the Iowa Senate that ended in 2009, said his own change of heart came about when he realized he had gay friends and relatives with whom he agreed on many other issues.

Read More: Click the link to read Angelo's 2011 Des Moines Register column, "Why my View on Same-sex Marriage Has Changed."

“It becomes harder to say no to that,” he said. “It begins to push people away from the party rather than bring people in.”

As the party for freedom and limited government, “we do not want government to tell same gender couples that they cannot be married,” Angelo said.

He also said that monogamous family relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are stabilizing factors in society and government shouldn’t want to stop that.

“Gay men and women are wanting to form stable families,” he said. “We need to promote that for the good of our culture.”

He thinks the conversation will move the party forward.

“In the end if you want to win elections you have to have more people who support your party than the opposition party,” Angelo said. “Our party is in a state of contraction right now, not expansion.”

Pragmatic or Betrayal of GOP Principles?

As Mehlman and Kochel crisscross the state with Iowa Republicans for Freedom, they haven’t been shown the door, exactly, but neither have they been given a robust welcome.

According to a Des Moines Register report, “several Republicans ducked out the back door” after a private reception with Mehlman at the Des Moines gathering.

Iowa State University political science professor Steffen Schmidt said some Republicans think softening on social issues like gay marriage would be a tactical error and a betrayal of its principles.

“The GOP is the party that opposes gay marriage,” Schmidt said “If people want to vote for candidates who support gay marriage, there is the Democratic Party.

“I don’t see many Republicans changing their mind on gay marriage, so it’s probably not a winning position of the party,” he said.

Read related blogs on Patch: Click the links to read One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing's blogs, The Conservative Case for Marriage Equality and Our Journey is Not Complete; With a Few Words Obama Changed Everything

Schmidt suggested, however, that Republicans may want to muzzle themselves a bit on the issue of gay marriage.

“The Iowa GOP probably doesn't need to emphasize opposition to gay marriage and put it high on the burner because it is not among the top five or 10 issues that voters are concerned about,” he said. “It does not, however, have to ‘abandon’ its position on gay marriage.”

Most observers think that convincing a state party whose disarray is epitomized by the fact that supporters of Ron Paul’s presidential bid lead the state GOP machinery – as disparate a group of voters as can be collected anywhere, Mahaffey noted – is going to be a heavy lift.

Yepsen agreed.

“There’s a conflict going on inside the Republican Party,” he said. “It used to be moderates vs. conservatives. Now it’s conservatives vs. conservatives.”

Party activists like Mehlman, Kochel and Angelo calling for moderation on same-sex marriage are trying to make the pill a little easier to swallow by telling their flock they don’t have to give up their principles. However, making a priority of anti-gay views means other Republican principles – smaller government, fiscal restraint and a strong defense – are losing at the ballot box.

Embracing gay marriage – or at least not being vocal about their opposition to it – isn’t the only thing Republicans need to do to bring more voters under their tent.

How to Gain Voters?

The Republican party could probably make up a bigger share of its deficit at the polls by loosening its opposition to certain immigration reforms, Mahaffey said, pointing out that some of the GOP’s most ardent supporters – business leaders – believe Republicans need a more inclusive position on immigration.

Republican losses were also significant among minority voters.

“As a small-town lawyer, I have a lot of clients – dairy farmers, construction companies, different kinds of industries – who rely on Hispanic workers,” Mahaffey said. “I’m not saying illegal workers, but everyone from the U.S. Chamber to farm organizations is talking about how we’re going to deal with this immigration issue.

“A significant portion of the Republican Party is more sympathetic for business and other reasons to having some kind of comprehensive immigration reforms,” Mahaffey said. “I know, because I talk to them.”

Yepsen thinks more moderate positions on gay marriage and immigration will become part of the GOP rhetoric as a matter of political pragmatism, if not on the issues’ merits.

“I’m a firm believer that all the right things happen for all the wrong reasons,” he said. “Republicans are having a period of introspection, and that includes gay marriage and immigration. These are conversations they wouldn’t be having if Mitt Romney had won.”

MONDAY:
Tomorrow, we’ll hear from students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa about their feelings on same-sex marriage as a political issue.

(Iowa Patch editors Deb Belt, Brian Morelli, Ashlee Kieler, Stephen Schmidt, Jessica Miller, Alison Gowans and Megan VerHelst contributed to this report.)

Jon Trouten February 03, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Maxine: I understand that you're in favor of marriage equality and I appreciate that. All I'll add is that the various marriages that you've mentioned (child adult marriages, sibling/sibling marriages, polygamy,etc.) have already existed or they currently exist somewhere in this world. There's reasons we don't currently legalize those marriages here in the USA and those who might seek to move backwards towards the legalization of that particular type of marriage will have to do more than say, "Well, the gays can marry."
James February 03, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Maxine - Your concerns are baseless (understandable mind you but baseless). The entirety of the legal arguments around permitting same sex marriage center on the government giving benefits to one group and not another. The governemnt s free to do this if they can offer sufficient justification when challenged. The argument for permitting same sex marriage is not "Well you let those heteros do it". It is "The government proffered justifications for denying the right to same sex couples is insufficient to support the denial of the right to same sex couples" Each of the groups you point to (polygamists, siblings, etc) would have to challenge the denial and the government would have to justify the denial as specific to that group. Polygamists saying "well you let the gays do it" would not be a sufficient legal argument. They would need to challenge the specific reasons the government offers to deny polygamists the right to marry.Those reasons would have nothing to do wiith the reasons offered to deny homosexuals the right to marry and would again be separate from the reasons to deny the right of marriage to siblings, parents and children, minors, etc. Allowing same sex couples to marry will make it no more and no less likely that any other group would be permitted to marry.
maxine weimer February 04, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Ok James, that makes sense. I still believe it may be a pandoras box for other challengers to follow. But what about all the people who are saying to keep government out of making these types of decisions? If not them, then who? I am not trying to be difficult, I am mearly trying to understand.
trusgold February 04, 2013 at 05:55 AM
the era of conservative hate is almost over. The immigration will blow apart the Tea Party and have them relegated to the dust bin of all radicals, We have victories abounding in the future! Hang in ther, as Savage says "It gets better"
Rick Langel February 04, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Wow, reading your comment it is clear that the hate is not coming from the tea party.
Rick Langel February 04, 2013 at 12:36 PM
James said: "The governemnt s free to do this if they can offer sufficient justification when challenged." Actually, the federal government is NOT free to do this, there is no power in the Constitution which grants this authority.
maxine weimer February 04, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Rick you nailed that one!
Warren Potter February 04, 2013 at 02:40 PM
First off I think the biggest problem for the Republican party is that we have caved on too many issues, not that we have not caved enough. In my (never to be humble) opinion we need to go back to our roots of strong fiscal and moral conservatism. We need to stop pandering to the special interest groups and stand our ground win loose or draw for what we believe in. As we have been shown in the past two elections our current path is getting us nowhere fast. Just look at the last election. Prior to the first presidential debate the two candidates were pretty equal in the polls. After the first debate when Romney stood on his feet and fought for his conservative values and schooled Obama on what he was doing wrong Romney shot ahead of Obama in the polls. The following debates where it seemed like Romney sat back and tried to bend to what he assumed the majority wanted to hear and tried to be a "likeable" guy Obama soundly trounced him. In a nutshell I say we stop trying to be liked and quit trying to be something we ain't. Had Romney came out fighting for conservative values and common sense economic policies in the 2nd and 3rd debates like he did in the first one I feel he would have easily won the election.
maxine weimer February 04, 2013 at 05:40 PM
OMG Warren you are my hero! You have just summed up my same feeling since Romney first started to fall in the polls! I so agree with you. We need a candidate now who must deliver the goods without all the added BS and he needs to be found now to start laying the ground work proudly and loudly and not cave to any of the usual nonsense. Who would you like to see run next time? What is your feeling on Bobby Jindal? Just when I was loosing the confidence in the republican party you Sir have stoked the fires once again.
maxine weimer February 04, 2013 at 05:44 PM
trusgold...I don't think anything is going to "blow apart the Tea Party." I believe that is alittle wishful thinking on your part.
B.A. Morelli February 04, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Here is part 2 of the series about GOP, gay marriage and young voters. What's at stake? Possibly a generation of young voters: http://iowacity.patch.com/articles/banning-gay-marriage-a-winner-not-if-the-iowa-gop-wants-young-voters
Warren Potter February 04, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Sadly Maxine I don't see any shining stars in our party right now. The last shooting star I had high hopes for was Herman Cain. I know his 999 plan needed some work but at least he was a man who unapologeticly said what he meant and meant what he said. He was unashamed to be a true conservative in thought and deed. Untill he was crucified by both parties for unsubstantiated claims of infidelity.
Melvin M. February 04, 2013 at 10:55 PM
To go back to the question of the article, the Republican Party has a huge amount of baggage to unload. If there is a change of position on gay marriage, abortion, immigration, give-to-the-rich tax policy, big-business-can-buy-our-votes political alignment, and quite a few other positions that have been cast in stone for the current members, as Ricky used to say, "You got some 'splainin' to do." I think any retrenchment on long-held positions will be interpreted by the independents (and by many Republicans) as lip service to garner votes. Most people can see through such obvious baloney. Just because the Republicans say it doesn't mean they believe it, and certainly there will be a significant number of them that won't even say it. Immigration reform? No way, Jose. Abortion for any reason? Not even up for discussion. Gay marriage is OK? Move to another country, heathen. If Republicans DO change and support some of these positions, I see two things happening. First, some sanity will be brought to the majority of the US public when needed reforms are enacted. Second, the Republican party will split into at least three factions -- Centrist Republicans who feel they've been hijacked by the Tea Party and ultra-conservative religious groups; Second, the remnants of the Tea Party; and third, a new party that might try to reclaim Lincoln's vision. None viable, and none mattering for political purposes for quite a while. Good Luck, guys. Just my opinion.
Warren Potter February 04, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Melvan you make some good points but some poor ones also. I believe strongly in Republican core beliefs and if i was to ever run for office would run on them. I am unapologeticly conservative both fiscaly and socialy and wont be swayed by public opinion. I have been swayed on issues in the past but boy you better come at me with some solid facts and conviction or ill chew you up and spit you out. A man who believes in what he says will always win against a man who followes public opinion. Public opinion changes while personal morals and values don't
maxine weimer February 05, 2013 at 01:24 AM
+5 Warren, I'll just bet you can walk on water too! LOL.... Its not very often I meet such a stand up, grounded man who knows what he believes in and sticks to it. I married a man just like that 40 yrs. ago and we are still together for those very reasons. Anyway I was so dissapointed when the Herman Cain thing happened. I really and truely think he would have been good for this country. And I also think he was set up. And I also like Marco Rubio alot, he seems to have the moral fortitude its going to take.
Melvin M. February 05, 2013 at 04:43 AM
So I take it, Warren (and maxine) that you completely subscribe to the positions of the Republican Party. At this point, I'd have to ask "which ones?" You belong to a party that strongly supports no abortion for any reason. This was quite a winner in the last election. You belong to a party that strongly supports activities like "self-deportation" and "having papers" and "stop and search for any reason" (aside from the fact that these sound much better in the original German), these were quite the winners in the last election. You belong to a party that strongly supports tax breaks for the wealthy, for corporations, repeal of medical care for the elderly, believes in death panels, think women don't get pregnant from rape -- the list goes on. My point is not that these are positions you should run away from, Warren and maxine. My point is that if you cling to them, you have been and will continue to be ever more marginalized in the democratic system. Most people think these are not good ideas. Champion them all you want, but you have joined the minority, you will have no voice, and then where will you be? I respect your steadfastness, but, based on the last election, think you've started down the road to not mattering. You could run for office, but do you really, REALLY think you could get elected? There were a whole lot more Joe Donnelleys and Claire McCaskills elected than Steve Kings. You can look these up.
Rick Langel February 05, 2013 at 05:24 AM
Melvin, conservatives support protecting life. I don't recall that being a major issue during the last election. Self-deportation works, we have seen the evidence in places like Arizona, where simply enforcing the existing immigration laws makes those who are here illegally leave. "Having papers" is not a position of either the GOP or the conservative movement. Neither is "stop and search for any reason". I believe in tax breaks for all. The top 1% earn about 24% of the income but pay over 40% of all income tax, while 49% owe no income tax at all. That doesn't sound "fair" or like everyone is paying their "fair share", does it? Meanwhile, the entire Obama tax increase this year was completely spent on just the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Well, that and another $10 billion. Death panels exist, the concept was included in the stimulus bill. There is a government board set up to review the cost effectiveness of treatments, and they will approve or deny the use of those treatments. So if you think the list goes on, you might want to educate yourself on the facts of what conservatives actually stand for.
Melvin M. February 05, 2013 at 05:56 AM
Rick, you make the best case I've seen for why Republicans are becoming irrelevant with their current positions. Ask Alabama about how that "deportation" thing is working, with crops rotting in the fields for 2 straight years. The only death panels anywhere are employed by insurance companies, and the majority of Americans who wanted a single-payer plan will eventually win out. The Republican platform for the last election included a plank for no abortion under any circumstances. That went over pretty big with female voters, along with all the non-denied "rape" campaign positions. Hold on to those good conservative positions, like no gay marriage. Just get used to being voted out, ignored, and marginalized over and over again. Things are changing, and you should quit trying to sell buggy whips in the age of the automobile. Of course, to do that, you need to repudiate all those things you stand for, and that smells of being a hypocrite. But since I can't convince you or any of your conservative cohorts of anything, I'll just say over-and-out. See you next election. Please, run for office.
Rick Langel February 05, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Actually, Melvin, when given all the facts and not just the propaganda spoon feeding by the media and the political elites, Americans overwhelmingly support conservative principles. Your own facts simply go against your own arguments. For example, you imply that self-deportation doesn't work, yet you acknowledge in Alabama that illegals did self deport themselves. The fix for immigration is two-fold, first to secure our borders and second to speed up the legal immigration process. We need good, law abiding immigrants to infuse that enthusiasm into America. We don't need people coming here to get anchor babies and entitlements. The majority of Americans don't want a single payer system. The majority of Americans still want Obamacare entirely repealed. If you're truly interested in the facts about death panels, I'd be happy to provide them. Unfortunately, every read I get from you is that you are a willing sheep in the Progressive herd. Abortion was not a high issue last election by any polling I've seen, liberal or not. That's simply a fact. I am a libertarian who could care less if gays marry. Support in most states for gay marriage is less than 50%, which is why courts in all but 2 states that have legalized it have forced it through the courts and not the legislature. Progressives 100 years ago said that times were changing as well, and when the people realized how abhorrent those principles are, they soundly rejected them. It will happen again.
Rick Langel February 05, 2013 at 01:05 PM
However, Melvin, if you'd like to talk about "repudiating all those things you stand for", did you oppose Bush's out of control spending? Bush raised the debt by about $4.5T over 8 years. Even Obama called that "unamerican". Yet Obama increased the debt by over $6T in 4 years. Do you still oppose that kind of spending? Or only when your party isn't doing it? How about warrantless wiretapping? When Bush did it, the left couldn't stop complaining about the practice. What did Obama do with that issue? Did he end the practice? No, he not only kept it in place, he expanded it. Do you still oppose warrantless wiretapping? Not only that, they've just said it's legal to kill Americans without trial. Do you support that? http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-exclusive-justice-department-memo-reveals-legal-case-for-drone-strikes-on-americans?lite So Melvin, are these things you used to oppose and now stand for? I'd be willing to bet I'm accurate in what positions you've taken, which means in order to advocate for what you do, "you need to repudiate all those things you stand for, and that smells of being a hypocrite".
Rick Langel February 05, 2013 at 01:37 PM
So Melvin, if you think conservative principles are on the way out, please answer these questions: 1. Do you believe you or the federal government has responsibility for the choices you and your family make? 2. Do you believe you and your community or the federal government know how to best help those in need in your community? 3. Do you have a budget in your household? Do you ever exceed that budget? What happens if you would continue to exceed that budget month after month for years? 4. Do you believe you have the right to defend yourself? 5. Do you believe the government not only has the authority but the responsibility to record and analyze your health records, bank records, private emails, etc.? There's lots more to ask, but that's a good start. Are you willing to see how your views compare to conservative views?
Rick Langel February 05, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Melvin, abortion seems to be a big issue for you. Do you know the history of the Progressive and abortion? It was first pushed by the Progressives in the early 20th Century by people like Margaret Sanger as a way to control the population of blacks, because they considered blacks inferior. In other words, it was part of a platform of eugenics. In her support for abortion, she stated things like this: "The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics.... We are convinced that racial regeneration, like individual regeneration, must come 'from within.'" Eugenics was a major principle of the Progressives in both parties from the turn of the century to the mid-1930s, and they even got to forced sterilization. There's lots more information like that, if you're interested. BTW, to tie the relevancy to today, Hillary Clinton has stated "I prefer the word ‘progressive,’ which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century.". Many other Progressives today push eugenics outright or the underlying concepts of eugenics.
maxine weimer February 05, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Melvin, I think you are out numbered here but you put up a good fight though.
Warren Potter February 05, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Melvin did you see the results of the last election? Obama did not win by any landslide and by no means has a mandate to push any program he wants. If you dig hard into the numbers and look at who put him over the edge you will see it was the "give me" crowd who gave him the win. Give me free medical free phones free citizenship.... The problem with all that is only now are they being shown that nothing is free. Look at the 2.2% hidden tax increase. Look at the dozens of tax increases in Obama care. Look at all the "give me's" who are only now finding out their "free" healthcare came with a cut in hours to no more than 29 a week. I think they are all feeling buyers remorse right now. Who said I agree with the Republican party 100%? Unlike many in both parties I think for myself. I differ with my party on several subjects, the death penalty being one. Melvin you my friend drink far too much cool aid and listen to msnbs too often. You know nothing of the true Republican platform. I suggest you turn the channel once in a while and get both sides of the issues, because listening to just one you being sold a bunch of BS.
Milford William February 05, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Maxine: I summarized research showing that the consequences and behavioral characteristics of same-sex behavior are typical of today. So I'm interested in knowing your view on why you believe otherwise.
maxine weimer February 05, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Milford.....I apologize because I am just confused. I understand the consequences and behavioral characteristics that you speak about and for the most part I agree with you, but I also want everyone to be happy and in a healthy relationship with someone they care about and that cares about them back. I don't by any means pretend to know what the answer is, all I can do is say how I personally feel about certain issues. I guess it boils down to whatever the laws are I have to abide by, but I feel like this gay movement is such a big trend right now. I don't know if they are experimenting with the concept because it is so popular, or if its because gays and lesbians feel more confident and just don't care now about public opinion. Also the aids virus is on the rise again and that is really scarey.
Jon Trouten February 05, 2013 at 05:10 PM
I am a 41-year-old man. I've been with my husband since 1994. I've known I'm gay since the early 80s. That is some trend. I'm HIV-negative and have always been STD negative. I've never had negative physical affects from my relationship. Promoting marriage in the gay community promotes monogamy. Those who practice monogamy are less likely to get AIDS. They're less likely to acquire STDs. Those who are married are emotionally better adjusted. We've seen trends that states that permit marriage equality actually have the lowest divorce rates. For *these* reasons, I urge Iowans to lay off the gays and lets us share in the rights, responsibilities, and protections of marriage alongside our heterosexual neighbors. Oh, lesbians share the lowest AIDS transmission rates. In fact, those who don't have other high risk factors (such as IV drug use or sexual activity with men) actually have almost no risk of AIDS transmission. Just something more to consider.
maxine weimer February 05, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Honestly I still don't know how Obama won this last election. He made so many promises that he has broken and yet the people fell for it again. And now he is lying again. He said he would not raise taxes on anyone who earned less than 250,000, and now he said just on last friday that he is going to have to raise taxes on the middle class to help bring down the national debt. What is it about that man that makes people believe him even when they know he is lying? And when he does lie to them, they act like it is ok. I am just sick of this administration and all their BS that I can't stand it anymore.........ok I feel alittle better now
maxine weimer February 05, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Jon, I don't want you to take my comments the wrong way. I am in favor of all people having a long, wonderful relationship with anyone they can find that with. I believe it is more healthy to have someone to share life with. And I don't want to sound negative about any gay or lesbian union. I am just not sure that "marriage" is the right word to use. It has always been called marriage when one man and one woman unite their relationship. And then it seems like gay people always called their formality a "union." I guess my question to you is, why do gay people want to now call it a marriage if they were content with calling it a union before? It dosen't make it any less of a unity between two people does it? Its kinda like people used to say "black" instead of "African American." They both mean the same thing, but using different verbage. What is the big deal as long as you have the same rights and the same laws reguarding the rules? Help me understand.
Jon Trouten February 05, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Maxine: It hasn't always been one man and one woman. It still isn't always one man and one woman. The Bible itself shows us that marriage sometimes has more than two spouses. We haven't always called our relationships "unions". Back when Vermont's supreme court told the state that there was no reason to deny us marriage licenses, the legislature came up with civil unions to provide us with separate but (mostly) equal relationships. We were seeking marriage then. We were seeking marriage in Hawaii when that state's supreme court agreed with us that our marriages weren't unconstitutional (the legislature then constitutionally banned us). We were seeking marriage back as early as the 60s when the Metropolitan Community Church tried getting our marriages legalized. We didn't create civil unions. Heterosexual legislators created civil unions for us to prevent us from getting married. I am married. I would prefer to remain married. We have learned over the past decade that civil unions and domestic partnerships actually aren't the same as marriage but with a different name. They found this to be the case in Vermont and in California and in New Jersey. Businesses and hospitals don't treat CUs and DPs equal to marriage even when the law tells them they have to. People and institutions understand marriage and the familial relationship of married partners. Instead of trying to create something new to call married gays, just call us married.

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