Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: New Trends in Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, April 05, 2009

New Trends in Same-Sex Marriage

California might not have been able to pioneer on the issue, but apparently the heartland is coming through. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state's ban against same-sex marriage that's been in place since 1998. California, of course, briefly allowed same-sex marriage when its own Supreme Court upheld it, but voters passed Proposition 8 to overrule the court. It's certainly possible that voters in Iowa might attempt a constitutional amendment to accomplish the same thing there, too, but the specifics of Iowa law means that such a vote couldn't take place for at least a couple of years. That means there will be at least that long for gay and lesbian couples to get married in Iowa, but there's another factor to consider, as well. Attitudes are changing, and--so far, at least--they seem to be moving toward tolerance of same-sex marriage. Nate Silver worked out a model to determine the point at which states are more likely to vote on against such a ban than to support it. He used three variables:

1. The year in which the amendment was voted upon;
2. The percentage of adults in 2008 Gallup tracking surveys who said that religion was an important part of their daily lives;
3. The percentage of white evangelicals in the state.

He found eleven states likely to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage right now. More importantly for the subject at hand, however, Silver predicts that Iowa would be willing to vote against a ban in 2012, which may well be their first opportunity to do so. Is same-sex marriage here to stay in the heartland? Very possibly the answer to that is yes.


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