While nearly two thirds of Iowans want to keep the state's ban on same-sex marriage, less than half want the same ban in the U.S. Constitution. That's according to a poll in the Des Moines Register.
The results--from a crucial swing state in the 2004 presidential race--seem to hold a mixed message for supporters and opponents of gay marriage. Only 25% would support lifting the state's ban on same-sex marriage, in comparison to 65% who want it to stay in place. Iowa is one of 39 states that outlaw gay marriage. But when it comes to writing a similar ban into the U.S. Constitution, 49% oppose such a move, while 43% are in favor.
The poll also found that same-sex marriage is not a prime concern of most Iowans. Just 22% of respondents said gay rights are a critical election issue. Eleven other campaign issues mentioned in the poll, led by the situation in Iraq, ranked higher in importance.
The poll contained at least one positive signal for backers of same-sex marriage: Opposition to gay marriage is greater among older Iowans than among the state's younger adults.
Poll participant Jennifer Rowell of Bettendorf, office manager at a construction company, said it's time to legalize gay marriage. The 35-year-old rejected arguments that same-sex marriages would damage traditional marriage. "I think that's a load of hooey," said Rowell, a Democratic-leaning independent who supports Kerry. "The ease of divorce is a much stronger reason that American families are falling apart."