Rep. Steve King Complains That Iowa Has Become "Gay Marriage Mecca"

May 24, 2010 2:35 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

When the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage in April 2009, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was predictably outraged.  A fierce opponent of equal rights for sexual minorities, King blasted the court's "unconstitutional" ruling and warned that Iowa would become a "Mecca" for gay and lesbian couples.  In September, he claimed his prediction was coming true, adding that marriage equality is a "socialist concept." 

Last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported that 2,020 gay couples have married in Iowa since the ban was lifted.  More than half of them came from out of state.  King responded to the news with a press release reaffirming his view that Iowa has become a "gay marriage Mecca" and decrying the supposed "harmful effects" of the state's blooming wedding industry:

"Just over one year ago, when the Iowa Supreme Court decided to ignore Iowa law and grant same sex couples the ability to get married in our state, I predicted that the decision, absent action by the state legislature to enact a marriage license residency requirement, would turn Iowa into the gay marriage Mecca." King said. "Now, the Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting that of the more than 2,000 same-sex couples who were married in Iowa between April 27, 2009, and March 31, 2010, sixty percent were from out of state," said King.

"Unfortunately, we've seen another legislative session pass without action on either a constitutional amendment to overturn the court's decision, or a marriage license residency requirement to keep the harmful effects of the court's decision from being imported by 'altar shoppers' into other states.

"This new report from the Department of Public Health reemphasizes the short-sightedness of the court's decision to enact a same-sex marriage law from the bench, and it provides even more evidence of the need for a residency requirement and a constitutional amendment to repeal it."

In other words, Iowa is emerging as a wedding destination -- attracting new customers for hotels, restaurants, and local businesses -- and King sees this as a bad thing. 

Unfortunately, King is more concerned with his right-wing agenda than the interests of his constituents, who are largely unmoved by his anti-equality fanaticism.  While Iowans are "almost evenly divided" on the issue, an overwhelming 92 percent of the state's residents say legalized gay marriage "has brought no real change to their lives." Remarkably, King has said that people just "haven't come to grips" yet with how same-sex marriage is hurting them.