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In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court gave President Bush a gift by making the Bay State the first to legalize gay marriage; The ruling enraged social conservatives nationwide and led to a wave of state ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage that helped drive support for Bush’s reelection, including in all-important Ohio. Yesterday, a judge in Polk County, Iowa gave Mitt Romney a similar, if more modest gift, striking down the state’s gay marriage ban. Already the frontrunner in Iowa polls, the ruling offers Romney another chance to distinguish himself from Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson by trumpeting his support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. That’s likely to be a major draw for religious conservatives, who, depending on the ultimate fate of the ruling—county officials are expected to appeal to the state Supreme Court—may be provoked into playing an even bigger role than usual in the Iowa caucuses.

The first presidential candidate to react the ruling
, Romney pilloried “unelected judges trying to redefine marriage and disregard the will of the people” and said “This once again highlights the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage.”


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