New Iowa poll: Gay marriage not worth legislature's time

More than 60 percent of Iowans think gay marriage "does not deserve the Legislature's limited time" this session, according to the latest poll conducted by Selzer and Associates for the Des Moines Register.

The poll surveyed 805 Iowa adults from January 31 to Feburary 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The question named six issues on which legislation has been introduced during the 2010 session, which has been shortened by 20 days due to budget constraints:

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. Puppy mills. Gay marriage. Driving and texting. Gun control. Gambling. Payday loans.

62 percent of respondents said gay marriage does not deserve the legislature's time, while only 36 percent said it does.

Here's hoping this poll will bolster the spine of any wavering statehouse Democrats. Iowa House Republicans are expected to use procedural maneuvers this week to try to force a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. When they tried that last April, two of the 56 House Democrats joined Republicans on a procedural vote. House Minority leader Kraig Paulsen wasn't deterred by the latest poll, telling the Des Moines Register,

"The majority party has successfully convinced people that that's something that takes a lengthy period of time," Paulsen said. "There's no reason it should have to take more than 30 minutes."

Poll respondents presumably know little about how much committee and floor time a marriage vote would consume, but I think Paulsen is missing the point here. Selzer in effect asked Iowans what's important for the legislature to handle. More than three-fifths of respondents said gay marriage doesn't rise to that level this session.

Notably, a recent poll commissioned by Republicans also suggests that gay marriage is a low priority for most Iowans. Voter Consumer Research conducted that poll in late January for The Iowa Republican blog and the Concordia Group (a political consulting firm run by Nick Ryan, with ties to the American Future Fund). Respondents were asked which three issues are most important to them: "Forty-one percent said jobs and unemployment, thirty-three said the economy, and twenty-eight percent said education." Way down the priority list was "moral values" with just 14 percent, Craig Robinson indicated in this comment thread.

Last September, a Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register asked several questions about same-sex marriage. About 41 percent of respondents said they would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, while 40 percent would vote against such an amendment. In addition, 92 percent of respondents said marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples had led to "no real change" in their own lives.

The conservative GOP base expects Republican legislators to try every trick in the book to bring a marriage vote to the floor. Iowa Democrats should make sure the public knows that while they were focusing on more important issues, Republicans kept trying to waste time on a marriage vote. Based on this polling as well as the results from last year's special election in Iowa House district 90, I doubt gay marriage will be a winning issue for Republican candidates this November.

Iowa has a lengthy process for amending the constitution. Assuming the state legislature does not pass a marriage amendment this year, the soonest a same-sex marriage ban could appear on a statewide ballot would be 2014 (only if the legislature elected in 2010 passed an amendment in either 2011 or 2012, and the legislature elected in 2012 passed an amendment in 2013 or 2014).

New Iowa poll: Gay marriage not worth legislature's time

More than 60 percent of Iowans think gay marriage "does not deserve the Legislature's limited time" this session, according to the latest poll conducted by Selzer and Associates for the Des Moines Register.

The poll surveyed 805 Iowa adults from January 31 to Feburary 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The question named six issues on which legislation has been introduced during the 2010 session, which has been shortened by 20 days due to budget constraints:

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. Puppy mills. Gay marriage. Driving and texting. Gun control. Gambling. Payday loans.

62 percent of respondents said gay marriage does not deserve the legislature's time, while only 36 percent said it does.

Here's hoping this poll will bolster the spine of any wavering statehouse Democrats. Iowa House Republicans are expected to use procedural maneuvers this week to try to force a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. When they tried that last April, two of the 56 House Democrats joined Republicans on a procedural vote. House Minority leader Kraig Paulsen wasn't deterred by the latest poll, telling the Des Moines Register,

"The majority party has successfully convinced people that that's something that takes a lengthy period of time," Paulsen said. "There's no reason it should have to take more than 30 minutes."

Poll respondents presumably know little about how much committee and floor time a marriage vote would consume, but I think Paulsen is missing the point here. Selzer in effect asked Iowans what's important for the legislature to handle. More than three-fifths of respondents said gay marriage doesn't rise to that level this session.

Notably, a recent poll commissioned by Republicans also suggests that gay marriage is a low priority for most Iowans. Voter Consumer Research conducted that poll in late January for The Iowa Republican blog and the Concordia Group (a political consulting firm run by Nick Ryan, with ties to the American Future Fund). Respondents were asked which three issues are most important to them: "Forty-one percent said jobs and unemployment, thirty-three said the economy, and twenty-eight percent said education." Way down the priority list was "moral values" with just 14 percent, Craig Robinson indicated in this comment thread.

Last September, a Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register asked several questions about same-sex marriage. About 41 percent of respondents said they would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, while 40 percent would vote against such an amendment. In addition, 92 percent of respondents said marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples had led to "no real change" in their own lives.

The conservative GOP base expects Republican legislators to try every trick in the book to bring a marriage vote to the floor. Iowa Democrats should make sure the public knows that while they were focusing on more important issues, Republicans kept trying to waste time on a marriage vote. Based on this polling as well as the results from last year's special election in Iowa House district 90, I doubt gay marriage will be a winning issue for Republican candidates this November.

Iowa has a lengthy process for amending the constitution. Assuming the state legislature does not pass a marriage amendment this year, the soonest a same-sex marriage ban could appear on a statewide ballot would be 2014 (only if the legislature elected in 2010 passed an amendment in either 2011 or 2012, and the legislature elected in 2012 passed an amendment in 2013 or 2014).

New Iowa poll: Gay marriage not worth legislature's time

More than 60 percent of Iowans think gay marriage "does not deserve the Legislature's limited time" this session, according to the latest poll conducted by Selzer and Associates for the Des Moines Register.

The poll surveyed 805 Iowa adults from January 31 to Feburary 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The question named six issues on which legislation has been introduced during the 2010 session, which has been shortened by 20 days due to budget constraints:

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. Puppy mills. Gay marriage. Driving and texting. Gun control. Gambling. Payday loans.

62 percent of respondents said gay marriage does not deserve the legislature's time, while only 36 percent said it does.

Here's hoping this poll will bolster the spine of any wavering statehouse Democrats. Iowa House Republicans are expected to use procedural maneuvers this week to try to force a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. When they tried that last April, two of the 56 House Democrats joined Republicans on a procedural vote. House Minority leader Kraig Paulsen wasn't deterred by the latest poll, telling the Des Moines Register,

"The majority party has successfully convinced people that that's something that takes a lengthy period of time," Paulsen said. "There's no reason it should have to take more than 30 minutes."

Poll respondents presumably know little about how much committee and floor time a marriage vote would consume, but I think Paulsen is missing the point here. Selzer in effect asked Iowans what's important for the legislature to handle. More than three-fifths of respondents said gay marriage doesn't rise to that level this session.

Notably, a recent poll commissioned by Republicans also suggests that gay marriage is a low priority for most Iowans. Voter Consumer Research conducted that poll in late January for The Iowa Republican blog and the Concordia Group (a political consulting firm run by Nick Ryan, with ties to the American Future Fund). Respondents were asked which three issues are most important to them: "Forty-one percent said jobs and unemployment, thirty-three said the economy, and twenty-eight percent said education." Way down the priority list was "moral values" with just 14 percent, Craig Robinson indicated in this comment thread.

Last September, a Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register asked several questions about same-sex marriage. About 41 percent of respondents said they would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, while 40 percent would vote against such an amendment. In addition, 92 percent of respondents said marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples had led to "no real change" in their own lives.

The conservative GOP base expects Republican legislators to try every trick in the book to bring a marriage vote to the floor. Iowa Democrats should make sure the public knows that while they were focusing on more important issues, Republicans kept trying to waste time on a marriage vote. Based on this polling as well as the results from last year's special election in Iowa House district 90, I doubt gay marriage will be a winning issue for Republican candidates this November.

Iowa has a lengthy process for amending the constitution. Assuming the state legislature does not pass a marriage amendment this year, the soonest a same-sex marriage ban could appear on a statewide ballot would be 2014 (only if the legislature elected in 2010 passed an amendment in either 2011 or 2012, and the legislature elected in 2012 passed an amendment in 2013 or 2014).

Prop. 8 Federal Lawsuit Begins, Cue Right-Wing Media Hysteria

This week in a San Francisco Federal District Court, a legal odd couple will be on display. Attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court in the infamous 2000 case ofBush v. Gore, and conservative attorney Ted Olson, who represented George W. Bush, are joining forces to overturn California's Proposition 8. It will be their contention that the initiative passed by voters in 2008 banning same-sex marriage in the Golden State violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution, singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, and discriminates on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.

Regardless of which side prevails, experts agree the case is likely to be appealed all the way to the highest court in the land.

Cue right-wing media hysteria and homophobia.

There's more...

Broad coalition stands up for marriage equality in Iowa

The Iowa Legislature begins its 2010 session this week, and about 200 people attended One Iowa's Equality Red Blue Purple event on Sunday in Des Moines. A coalition of more than two dozen statewide organizations, including major labor unions, oppose a constitutional amendment to rescind same-sex marriage rights in Iowa. Republicans as well as Democrats have signed on as co-chairs of Equality Red Blue Purple, and dozens of local organizations have joined the coalition too. The full list of co-chairs and coalition members can be viewed here.

On Tuesday, supporters of marriage equality plan to deliver "over 15,000 postcard petitions to legislators in every district in the state," according to One Iowa's Justin Uebelhor. Opponents of same-sex marriage plan a large rally at the state capitol on Tuesday as well.

This week One Iowa's television ad, "This Place," will run in the Des Moines market. The ad was created soon after the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling last April. It depicts marriage equality as consistent with Iowa traditions of fairness and protecting our freedoms under the state constitution.

Click here to donate to keep this ad on the air for an extra week.

Democratic legislative leaders have vowed not to allow floor votes on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage during the 2010 legislative session. However, Republicans will try various procedural tricks to force a vote on the issue. I expect Democratic lawmakers to stand firm against a marriage amendment, and I hope that they won't cop out when confronted by constituents who want to ban gay marriage.

On a related note, a lawsuit against California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages, goes forward this week in federal court. The lead attorneys are David Boies and Ted Olson, who were on opposite sides during the Bush v Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election. Writing in Newsweek, Olson laid out "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," which is worth a read.

However, not all advocates of marriage equality support the strategy of appealing Prop 8 in federal court. At Daily Kos, SoCalLiberal laid out the argument against pursuing this lawsuit, favoring an effort to repeal Prop 8 at the ballot box in 2012.

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