The gay advocacy group, “One Iowa” is starting a new campaign to try and sway public opinion in favor of same-sex marriages. Nearly three years after the Iowa Supreme Court ruling made it legal for same-sex couples to marry in Iowa, polls still show a majority of Iowans oppose the decision.
A February 2011, Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed 38% against, 35% in favor. One Iowa’s executive director, Troy Price, says the poll also showed 30% don’t care one way or the other. He says if the undecided citizens got to know more gay couples, they would see there’s nothing wrong with same-sex unions
“Most of the conversations about marriage in this state have been focused on the political aspects of the debate, they’ve focused on its impact on the statehouse or on judicial retention or on the presidential caucuses, but what’s gotten lost in this conversation is what this debate is really all about, which is about people,” Price says.
The new effort called “Why Marriage Matters” is trying to convince Iowans that same-sex couples, they would see they’re no different than anyone else.
“They get up every morning, they make breakfast for their kids, they go to work, they have dinner at the end of the day, they go to PTA meetings, they’re active in their churches and communities. They’re regular, everyday Iowans, who only want their commitment to one another to be recognized by the community they actively participate in,” Price says.
The public relations effort includes a website and speakers’ bureau to share the stories of married gays and lesbians. Price says the public attitude about same-sex marriage is shifting. National polls now indicate 53% of Americans approve of the unions.
Three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges who voted in favor of the decision overturning the state ban on gay marriage were voted off the bench in the retention election following the ruling. Democrat legislators repeatedly blocked attempts by Republicans last year to bring a constitutional amendment forward to allow Iowans to vote on the gay marriage issue.
Legislators have said social issues such as gay marriage will not be a focus of this year’s session.