Karen Ocamb

RED ALERT: One Iowa Needs Help Saving Equality Judges

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 31, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Iowa, marriage equality, One Iowa, Red Alert, same-sex marriage, Supreme Court Justices

While the nation's eyes are on the Republican/Tea Party's campaign to take over Congress, the National Organization of Marriage - flush with money from the Catholic and Mormon churches - have their own under-the radar campaigns Iowa NOM Bus toursupporting antigay, anti-abortion candidates. But perhaps none is more important - precisely because it's gone largely unnoticed - is the $10 million campaign to oust the three Iowa judges who courageously ruled that lesbians and gays have a constitutional right to marry.

Here's how the religious right wing website World Net Daily put it in a story last Sunday, Oct. 24, entitled “Fed-up Americans: Fire the judges, too!”

"Judicial elections across the United States, largely ho-hum affairs that only stand out when members of the black robes commit a crime, have turned white-hot in Iowa, where residents are organizing and campaigning to fire three of the state Supreme Court members who created same-sex marriage for the state.

Supporters of the judges - Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit - are countering with arguments that Iowans who want the three removed from office have abandoned the rule of law and become “the mob.”

But former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from office himself when state officials refused to allow him to challenge an order he considered illegal, said the judges in Iowa didn’t even follow their own state law - which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Instead, Moore said, they joined advocates for homosexuality in calling such couples “similarly situated” to traditionally married couples.

That view is accurate, said Moore, who runs the Foundation for Moral Law, only if one cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman.

The justices’ stance, he suggested, is why polls show they could be ejected from their highly paid positions of influence, even though they usually are the benefactors of approval from 80 percent or 90 percent of the voters.

Several polls show that support for the three is running only percentage points above the portion of the citizenry already committed to voting them out. Several polls suggested the small percentage of undecideds probably ultimately will be the deciding factor."

In a recent RED ALERT conference call with bloggers, One Iowa said they need at least $15,000 in the closing days of the campaign for robo-calls and social media, as well as the traditional Get Out The Vote effort to combat a "who's who" of fringe antigay groups out to "hijack" the Iowa Supreme Court.

As Courage Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign's NOM Exposed website indicates, the National Organization for Marriage is using a bus tour as a publicity ploy to draw attention to the Judicial Retention election. NOM is backed by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, as well as religious right wing favorites such as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. One Iowa notes that as of last week the antigay groups have spent more than $600,000 on the race, "eclipsing all other races in Iowa this cycle."

NOM President Brian Brown told the AP, “I cannot overstate the significance of what is about to happen in Iowa.” One Iowa reports that NOM alone has spent over half a million dollars. Follow the saga of the just-ended NOM bus tour and campaign through Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

On the conference call, Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs noted that the real intention of the antigay groups is to "send a message" nationally to all judges who will face the issue of marriage equality in court: vote for gays and we'll come get you.

Californians are well-aware of the effectiveness of this tactic: the name Rose Bird is still dropped any time a judge ventures too far-afield from what "the people" want. Bird, who served for 10 years as the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, was voted out of office by a margin of 67-33 in the November 4, 1986 election after an intense campaign targeting her opposition to the death penalty. She was the epitome of an "activist judge."

NOM hopes the next name to drop will be "Remember the Iowa Judges!"

You can contribute to One Iowa’s campaign through Act Blue and Fairness Fund Iowa.

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I've spread the word to all I've come in contact with to vote to retain the justices and the big lug.Personally I've already voted and I'll continue to encourage people to get out and vote.

I have been in touch with several of my friends in Iowa, and they have said that although it may be a close call, the Justices will be retained. We simply cannot let right wing thuggery and mob rule dictate the Judicial system just because they are in the minority. If they cannot support Democracy as it stands, they need to start their own government and country on another island far from the USA (preferably with an active volcano on it!).