Editorial: Gay marriage proponents want to reach out to public

January 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Jennifer Waldron, left, and her spouse, Brenda Fite, walk their dog, Meggie, near their Cedar Falls home. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Gay marriage proponents don’t use that term.

They just call it marriage.

And they want most Iowans to think of it the same way.

With an anti-gay-marriage amendment seemingly a dead issue at the state Legislature this year, same-sex marriage supporters are shifting gears from winning over politicians to winning the hearts and minds of Iowa’s general public.

Last year the Iowa House passed an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. The amendment was blocked by Sen. Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, who has vowed not to allow the issue to go up for a vote.

As the 2012 session has begun, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he has no plans to revisit the issue. That means any constitutional amendment would be at least three years out, giving gay marriage supporters a chance to capitalize on polling numbers that show Iowa and the nation becoming more accepting of the issue.

“We want to put the issue to bed,” said One Iowa Executive Director Troy Price. ” We want to make sure Iowans support marriage. Over the next two years our goal is to get majority support of marriage.”

Last summer Public Policy Polling in August released a poll that showed 46 percent of Iowans believe same sex marriage should be legal, with 45 percent opposed to it. The numbers had been moving in favor of same-sex marriage over the past several years.

One Iowa is teaming with Freedom To Marry, a national campaign supporting same sex marriage. Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, said honest conversation about marriage brings people around to support it. He thinks people need to know that gay people marry for the same reasons as straight people — out of love and commitment.

“What moves those people is to connect to why gay people want the freedom to marry. Why does marriage matter? When you ask them why they get married the answer is simple, ‘I love my husband’ or ‘I love my wife,'” Wolfson said. “Then we ask them why gay people get married and they literally will say, ‘I don’t know.’ When pressed for an answer they will say health coverage, because that’s what they’ve heard about.”

Brenda Fite of Cedar Falls knows a little about opening hearts and minds to gay marriage. She painfully recalls a time years ago when her mother told Jennifer Waldron, now Fite’s spouse, how she wished their relationship didn’t exist. Years later, Fite’s mother was the first person to call when the Iowa Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in Iowa in Varnum v. Brien. She simply asked when they were getting married. She now gives the couple full support and is a proud grandmother to their 1-year-old son.

Click here to read the full article from The Courier


Entry filed under: News.

Press Release: Editorial: One Iowa, It’s time to talk about gay marriage

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