There’s a great piece at the Iowa Independent today detailing the findings of a study on the effects of marriage equality in Iowa. Amazingly enough, the study found that the state of Iowa has not crumbled into a million pieces, and marriage of all kinds is actually stronger than it was before equality came to that heartland state:
While social conservatives depict same-sex marriage as a threat to married life as we know it, 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 research by IowaWatch.org.
Moreover, marriage statistics show that female couples made up nearly two-thirds of the same-sex marriages in Iowa in the year after the state Supreme Court ruled it legal in April 2009. Although experts say a single year does not constitute a trend, the disparity is consistent with the traditional way Americans raise children and establish their gender roles early in life. The disparity also reflects similar trends in other states where same-sex marriages are allowed.
The findings are based on more than a dozen interviews with gay couples and national experts, and on an examination of journal articles, marriage statistics, census data, polls and court rulings by IowaWatch.org, a nonprofit website run by The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.
While Iowa’s rural image conveys conservatism, Iowans are known for their passive, mind-your-own-business brand of independence, which often makes them difficult categorize on the political spectrum.
“I think Iowa is pretty libertarian,” said Mark A. Holbrook, who recently married his partner, Ronald J. Trouten of Iowa City. “A lot of people don’t feel compelled to force their views on others.”
The angst over marriage in Iowa comes after a year in which the state of marriage has made a turn toward statistical bliss: more people got married and fewer split up. Divorces declined to 7,286, to lowest per capita level since 1968, according to 2009 provisional and historical data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The health department’s statistics also suggest gay marriage is not a trend on the fringe. Of the 19,204 couples who bought licenses to marry during the year ending March 31, one out of 10 were gay. In Pottowattamie and Johnson Counties, the ratio was one out four. The marriages occurred in 21 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
One out of ten!
The sky is, of course, still falling, but only Maggie Gallagher can see it.
Later in the piece, a strange difference between marriage equality in the United States and Europe is examined — abroad, there are far more male couples married, but in the United States, and especially in Iowa, those numbers are flipped.
It’s all worth a read, so go there.