A new study from IowaWatch finds that the “Gay Marriage Mecca” of Iowa — to use Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) colorful description — is in many way the same as it was just 18 months ago, before the state Supreme Court ruled it legal in April 2009. Rest easy conservative activists, it turns out that gay couples want to be as traditional as you are:
Iowa’s 18-month experience with the newly legalized institution has revealed striking similarities to traditional marriage and no discernible harm to it, according to an IowaWatch study. [...]
The IowaWatch study found that similarities range from the way men and women often view marriage to the more mundane tasks of married life, such as doing yard work. Like people in traditional marriages, same-sex couples also talk about raising children and shielding them from the verbal slings of peers, the stability and unit-strength of a family and the value of loving relationships among parents and children, as well as legal necessities and financial security. [...]
Seventy-two percent of couples said they felt more committed to their partners after marriage, and around 70 percent felt more accepted by their community. Acceptance from others legitimated their relationship in their eyes, more so than even the legal rights, she said.
“I heard a lot of stories about people who have been together for 18 years, and their parents didn’t see them as a couple until they were married,” Richman said.
Because marriage has never been available to gay people, many did not pursue long-lasting relationships. Stereotypes of promiscuity harden, because same-sex-couples can’t legitimize their relationship in the most socially acceptable way – marriage.
“The fact that they were excluded from normalized monogamy [marriage] reinforced the idea that they don’t need the monogamy,” she said.
In other words, expanding marriage to gay couples only strengthens the institution and even spreads so-called “traditional values” to “alternative” populations. A year since the ruling, Iowa is already posting the lowest number of divorces since 1970 and the more than 2,000 same-sex weddings are undoubtedly aiding the state’s economy. It’s this reality that makes it so difficult for opponents of marriage to demonstrate any harm from same-sex unions and exposes their campaigns for the reactionary, self-serving, money machines that they are. After all, conservatives are fighting against the very same unit they’re trying to protect.