Conservatives in Iowa are already agitating to put discrimination against same-sex couples into their state constitution. Iowa law requires legislative approval in two consecutive sessions, meaning the soonest such an amendment could hit the ballot is November 2012.
Fortunately, the Dems in charge of the Iowa legislature are standing up for common sense and saying they will not let the issue come up this session. Iowa Senate Democratic Majority Leader Mike Gronstal responded thus to GOP calls to bring a gay-marriage ban to the Senate floor:
In response, Gronstal shared a story about his daughter, Kate, telling a group of conservative men that opponents of same-sex marriage “have already lost” and that the younger generation doesn’t care.
“I learned something from my daughter that day. That’s what I see, Sen. McKinley,” Gronstal said. “I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other and want state law to recognize that. Is that so wrong? I don’t think that’s so wrong.”
He has learned a lot since he voted in favor of Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, Gronstal said, and he will not join in the crafting of a marriage amendment.
“Friday I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night, because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other,” he said [Jason Hancock, "Gronstal: No Same-Sex Marriage Debate," Iowa Independent, 2009.04.06].
Stymied at the state level, the GOP will do what it does best: forget it's the party of small government and argue for the federal government to step in and ban gay marriage nationwide. The GOP social conservatives will be all fired up, hungry to hear a real manly man or womanly woman validate their homophobia and promise to use the bully pulpit to perpetuate bullying of folks whose love just doesn't look right. The GOP candidates will tack hard right to win that vote... so hard right, I am willing to bet, that the GOP will lose the moderate center, just like they did last year.
If the GOP ticket is thus determined by isolated pockets of Iowan homophobia, expect Thune-Sanford -- or Palin-Norris -- versus Obama-Biden. I can't wait!