Marriage Equality Under Attack in Iowa on Eve of Bus Tour Targeting Pro-Equality Supreme Court Judges
A frightening update on the right-wing campaign to rid the Iowa Supreme Court of judges who approved marriage equality in the state in 2009, from the Iowa Independent:
The campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices over a 2009 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage has attracted the attention of some of the most influential conservative organizations in America, each working together and sharing materials, funding and staff with Iowa groups and churches.
That coordination will be on full display next week, when anti-gay marriage groups and politicians will hold 20 events in four days around the state hoping to rally public opinion against Iowa judges.
The face of the campaign, Bob Vander Plaats’ group Iowa for Freedom, is a project of Mississippi-based American Family Association. But they are not alone. The Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, Georgia-based Faith & Freedom Coalition and New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage all bring direct funding or in-kind legal and promotional support to local organizations looking to oust the justices.
More from the Iowa Independent here on how each of these organizations is involved:
Vander Plaats has repeatedly denied that AFA is the sole funding source of his Iowa for Freedom campaign, even though Iowa for Freedom is listed as a “project of AFA Action Inc.” on all of its campaign material.
Family Research Council is sponsoring an Iowa bus tour next week featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and other state and national leaders urging Iowans to vote against retaining the three justices on the ballot. The tour will kick off on Monday at the state Capitol and conclude at a Thursday night rally in front of the Iowa Supreme Court building.
National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown is co-sponsoring the Family Research Council’s statewide bus tour of Iowa next week.
Iowa Family Policy Center has received more than $3 million in federal funding through the national Healthy Marriage and Compassion Capital grants via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Point of Grace is on a list of partner organizations for IFPC’s federal marriage program. As to whether or not the church received any federal money, Luke Vogel, director of financing for Point of Grace, said via e-mail, “I am unaware of Point of Grace ever receiving any funds from IFPC of any kind.”
Vander Plaats has tried to deny that out-of-state money is funding his campaign to oust the judges. Check out this video:
And now for the bus tour:
The Iowa Independent mentions the bus tour. It's a 20-city tour that will feature many of Iowa's most hateful religious-right bigots and homophobic elected officials. Rick Santorum is even making an appearance on October 26.
The Family Research Council's political action committee is one of two groups sponsoring a 45-county bus tour urging Iowans to vote "no" to Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit.
The campaign includes Republicans U.S. Rep. Steve King of western Iowa, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert Jr., who was an elected district court judge in his home state of Texas.
Check out the Iowa hate-a-palooza 'Judge Bus' tour schedule HERE. It starts on Monday.
Here's NOM's latest ad calling on Iowans to reject the judges:
Iowa for Freedom is going so far as to stalk and harass the justices. Here's a video that was posted on their website showing someone harassing Judge David Baker and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, two of the judges up for retention:
The bottom line is that conservatives are pouring money into Iowa because they are scared to death of the precedent marriage equality in that state is setting for the rest of the nation, and they will do anything to get it overturned.
Along with the Justices, they are working hard to unseat governor Chet Culver as well.
Here's a report just in on Culver's debate last night with opponent Terry Branstad:
"Branstad surely disappointed some Iowans by again refusing to say how he'll vote on retention of the three Supreme Court justices and on the constitutional amendment seeking to create a trust fund for natural resources. Many voters are still making up their minds on both issues, and the retention question is particularly volatile. Branstad, who has said he disagrees with the high court's ruling on gay marriage, should say whether he thinks the justices, some of whom he appointed, should be retained."