Same-sex marriage backers launch campaign

January 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

by Daniel Finney

Des Moines Register, January 19, 2012

Same-sex marriage advocates want to have a family values conversation with Iowans.

They launched a statewide “public education campaign” Wednesday aimed at moving the conversation about marriage rights out of the political arena and into family rooms and dens.

The effort, called Why Marriage Matters, is led by One Iowa, which seeks civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and Freedom to Marry, which seeks marriage equality nationwide.

Since the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law banning same-sex marriage nearly three years ago, political battles have framed the marriage equality discussions, the advocates contended.

Advocates want same-sex married couples to have open and frank discussions with members of their community about how the right to marry has improved their lives and families.

“This conversation is about getting back to basics and talking about why marriage matters, having people talk neighbor-to-neighbor in homes about marriage and families and what they mean,” said Evan Wolfson, a civil rights attorney and founder of Freedom to Marry.

Last year, same-sex marriage opponents led a successful effort to unseat three of the high court justices who effectively opened Iowa for same-sex marriage. Republican presidential candidates competing in the Iowa caucuses, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, ran commercials that appealed to factions of the GOP that oppose same-sex unions and gays serving openly in the military.

Leaders of both Iowa House and Iowa Senate have both said they they’re unlikely to debate a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman this legislative session.

Same-sex marriage opponent Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, said free speech protections allow the group to spread their message, but “I’m sad for those who participate and those who have to hear it.”

One Iowa has created a website,, where same-sex couples where share marital experiences and ideas. The group has more than 50 speakers available to attend community events and social groups to discuss same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples statewide are planning open houses to invite friends and neighbors to discuss marriage, faith and values.

A February 2011 Des Moines Register Iowa poll showed 32 percent of Iowans favored same-sex marriage and 37 percent opposed with another 30 percent saying they “don’t care much.” One percent of Iowans were unsure.

The goal of Why Marriage Matters is to sway those Iowans who don’t care or are unsure, Price, One Iowa executive director.

“We believe we will see a clear and true majority for marriage equality in Iowa and nationwide,” he said. “The hearts and mind of America are moving.”

Click here to read the full article from The Des Moines Register


Entry filed under: News.

Editorial: One Iowa, It’s time to talk about gay marriage Gay advocacy group starts new public relations campaign

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Why Marriage Matters Iowa is a project of Freedom to Marry and the One Iowa Education Fund.

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