Homophobic Voters in Iowa Punish Same-Sex Marriage Justices
November 3, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—A bigoted homophobic campaign, funded with millions of dollars of outside money, succeeded yesterday in dumping three Iowa Supreme Court justices from the court in retaliation for their same-sex marriage ruling. The 2009 landmark ruling found that the state’s law restricting marriage to one man and one woman, violated the constitution. Since then, the right-wing anti-gay groups have become unhinged, lead by Bob Vander Plaats, a losing Republican candidate for governor, and aided by extremist Congressman Steve King (R-IA). Vander Plaats waged a campaign to unseat “activist” judges who don’t rule based on his right-wing ideology, fearmongering that first it’s the gays and next they will take away your guns. The unprecedented campaign threatens the independence of the Iowa judiciary.
“If the Iowa Supreme Court will do this to marriage, every one of our freedoms, including gun rights and private property, is in danger of being usurped by activist judges who are unelected officials,” reads the message on Vander Plaats’ website Iowa For Freedom.
The heading on the website screeches, “Stop Judicial Tyranny. Defend Marriage. Protect Freedom.”
This is the first time Iowans have voted to not retain Supreme Court Justices, since the inception of the merit selection system in the 1960s.
After the election, the Supreme Court Justices issued a joint statement condemning the influence of outside money and special interests groups threatening the independence of the state judiciary.
“We wish to thank all of the Iowans who voted to retain us for another term. Your support shows that many Iowans value fair and impartial courts,” they wrote. “We also want to acknowledge and thank all the Iowans, from across the political spectrum and from different walks of life, who worked tirelessly over the past few months to defend Iowa’s high-caliber court system against an unprecedented attack by out-of-state special interest groups,” the statement said.
“Finally, we hope Iowans will continue to support Iowa’s merit selection system for appointing judges. This system helps ensure that judges base their decisions on the law and the Constitution and nothing else. Ultimately, however, the preservation of our state’s fair and impartial courts will require more than the integrity and fortitude of individual judges, it will require the steadfast support of the people.”
This is a frightening outcome. Will other court systems be attacked by right-wing ideologues propped up with piles of cash from special interest groups whenever a decision is handed down they don’t like?
Photo Source: Wikipedia/dbking/Flickr, The Rainbow Flag, GLBT Pride/Creative Commons Attribution