Sixty-four percent of Iowans now --- five years later --- are generally supportive of same-sex marriage, according to results of the newest Iowa Poll reported upon in this morning's Des Moines Register.
For those who follow such things, April 5 will be celebrated (or mourned) as the fifth anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Varnum v. Brien that denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the state's Constitution.
That's a considerable increase from 2010, when a similar poll showed that only 44 percent of Iowans favored same-sex unions. The Supreme Court decision made Iowa only the third state to allow same-sex marriage; now there are 17 --- plus the District of Columbia. It's been an interesting five years.
The newest Register poll divided marriage equality supporters into two categories --- 28 percent of respondents were "proud" that Iowa was an equality state; 36 percent said it just "doesn't matter" to them. Only 34 percent expressed disappointment.
As might be expected, the results divided to some extent along party lines. Only 10 percent of Republicans were "proud," although larger numbers were in the "doesn't matter" class. Only 16 percent of Democrats were disappointed.
According to Iowa Department of Health figures, approximately 6,000 same-sex couples married in Iowa between 2009 and 2012, although the figure probably is somewhat higher --- Iowa does not require contracting couples to specify gender if they don't want to.
Minnesota became a marriage equality state --- the second in the Midwest --- last May, thanks to the state legislature; and began issuing licenses on August 1. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an interesting piece last weekend to mark the anniversary, noting that approximately 3,000 same-sex couples had married there since last fall.
Minnesota, of course, is considerably larger than Iowa, both in terms of acreage and population --- so that's not surprising.
Civil rights legislation in both Iowa and Minnesota outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when public accommodations are involved (Iowa adds gender identity).
But so far the major kerfluffle in both states has involved the Gortz Haus Gallery near Des Moines, a wedding venue located in a rcycled church, that turned away a same-sex couple last August. The couple sued owners Betty and Richard Odgaard; the Odgaards responded with a suit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, seeking the right to discriminate.
But in general, there have been few if any reports of marauding same-sex couples invading small towns to force Christian vendors of pastries and floral tributes to serve them.