Opposition to gay marriage helped sway the 2004 presidential election, when a constitutional amendment in Ohio may have turned out enough Republican voters to help George Bush prevail in a contest where gay marriage was a minor issue. This year, it may not even swing an Iowa state Senate race, where it actually is the most important issue.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, perhaps the most powerful politician in the state, has long been the top target of Iowa social conservatives because of his efforts to keep same-sex marriage legal in the Hawkeye State. As the election approaches, not only are Republicans deemphasizing that issue in his western Iowa district but the target is slowly fading from Gronstal’s back.
In 2009, Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. The result was an outcry among social conservatives who were outraged at such “legislating from the bench.” The result helped further gin up Republican turnout in the state and helped the party take the governor’s mansion and the state House of Representatives during the Tea Party wave of 2010.
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