Happy New Year. We’re kicking things off here this January by taking a quick look at how same-sex marriage affected life in New York in 2011, and how it’s shaping up primary politics in Iowa in advance of tomorrow’s caucuses.
Gay marriage, of course, just became official in New York last year. As a result, the number of marriage licenses was up 14% in the city last year over the latter half of 2010. Stopping this kind of marriage surge must be the kind of thing thrice married adulterer Newt Gingrich wants to put in an end to in his campaign to “save” the institution.
Meanwhile in Iowa, where the economy is relatively strong and unemployment is shockingly low compared to the national average, the Republican candidates for president have often put same-sex marriage front and center in their pitch to the caucus goers. Every candidate except for Ron Paul has signed NOM’s anti-gay marriage pledge. Michele Bachmann sparred with a high school student on the subject, exhorting that “every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are…the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex,” conveniently ignoring the fact that Iowans have held the right to marry a person of either sex since April of 2009. After nearly three years, you’d think a state’s right to determine its own marriage laws would not be a point of contention for Republican politicians seeking federal office.
But the most ridiculous way same-sex marriage has penetrated Iowa politics in the 2012 cycle has been in the last minute “surge” by Rick Santorum. As Roy Edroso pointed out, Santorum’s identity is so staked on his being anti-gay that the most popular definition of the word Santorum (according to Google anyway) means “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
We can’t imagine the Iowa proprietor of the Boone Pizza Ranch was aware of this definition when he renamed a creamy chicken salad in honor of Santorum, who reportedly liked it. The salad was not, as Joe Tacopino wondered, “tossed,” but it does have its own fake twitter and the issue of same-sex marriage has whipped anti-gay voters and candidates into a different kind of frothy mix in the past few weeks. You’d think they’d leave it alone, considering that just like in New York, the year Iowa passed same-sex marriage, the state ended a four year decline in couples getting hitched, divorces decreased, and the state of Iowa marriage experienced something of a surge.