Iowa GOP Senate Leader: Four Remaining Judges Will be Removed Unless the People Get to Vote on Gay Marriage

Following the recent successful right-wing campaign to oust three pro-equality Iowa Supreme Court judges in the recent election, reelected Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley is threatening to take out the remaining four judges who approved marriage equality unless Iowans are allowed to vote on an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The Iowa Supreme Court approved marriage equality in a 7-0 vote in April 2009.

Said McKinley to Radio Iowa: Mckinley

“That is an issue that the people overwhelmingly said, ‘We want to have a say in this. It should not be overreaching government or judges. I believe the (justices) would still be in office had Mike Gronstal allowed that vote over the past two years. It would not even have been an issue…You can lay that squarely at the feet of the Democrats. And I don’t know if they want to be responsible for a redo of this in two years on a (judicial) retention vote or not, but I would think that many of their members who have professed that they think people should have a vote will be given the opportunity to do the right thing."

Iowa Senate Democrat Majority Leader Gronstal recently vowed to block any attempts to bring a marriage amendment to a vote.

Democrats will retain a 26-24 edge in the Iowa Senate, while Republicans are taking the House. House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen intends to bring a marriage amendment to the floor.

Still, the process to push any ballot measure through is tough, Radio Iowa adds: "A resolution must be passed by both the Iowa House and Senate in 2011 or 2012 and then again in 2013 or 2014 before an amendment could be placed on the General Election ballot."


  1. StillMarriedinCalifornia says

    Let him make all the threats he wants. It’s not going to change the fact that same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa and will be for years to come and will eventually be accepted by the people. I just hope the Current Governor appoints 3 new unabashedly liberal judges to replace the ones who were were unfairly punished for doing their jobs.

  2. David in Houston says

    “Paul McKinley is threatening to take out the remaining four judges who approved marriage equality unless Iowans are allowed to vote on an amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

    The public did the same thing 70 years ago with interracial marriage. Those darn activist Supreme Court justices disregarded the will of people and ruled that those bans were unconstitutional. Maybe someone should remind homophobe McKinley that our legal system is not based on majority rules.

  3. candideinncc says

    When Blacks found no justice in Congress, no justice in law enforcement and no justice in the courts, their only recourse was violence in the streets.

  4. MammaBear says

    Yes. Squarely at the feet of the Democrats. They have to tell themselves this or they wouldn’t be able to sleep.

    This guy, and these people, have no shame. It’s discouraging but predictable. The question is how can you get through to the people who are against our having equal rights, when assholes like this are running the show and controlling the message.

  5. Chris says


    Blacks also led peaceful marches through cites protesting the status-quo. Perhaps the gay community can come together as a cohesive unit and unite for a single cause. We are fighting on to many fronts, ENDA, DADT, and Marriage equality. All are very important but we need to commit our full resources to one at a time.

  6. Wayne says

    Already sent him an email yesterday stating my concern that he isn’t focused on important issues like the economy and jobs here in Iowa. Maybe he needs to hear from a lot more people.

  7. candideinncc says

    Chris–Peaceful demonstrations by gays have gone on for many decades. We have now seen overwhelming political victories by the party that nominally supported our causes, followed by two years of inaction on all fronts. We have seen hard fought successes in the legislatures overturned by populist bigotry. We have seen fair and impartial jurists applying the laws in an equitable manner, only to be routed by sanctimonious, superstitious bigots reversing state constitutional guarantees. We have seen laws designed to specifically disempower gay people, like DOMA, enacted signed by the very president we helped put in office.

    I don’t encourage violence. I just wouldn’t be particularly disappointed by it at this stage.

  8. TANK says

    And nothing breaks up an organized mob faster than quick, brutal violent action. This is america…you take what’s yours…you don’t ask for it…

  9. says

    you know, I’m starting to believe that we keep losing at the ballot box not because there are a majority of right wing bigots in this country, but because people that claim to be our allies are just too apathetic when it comes to actually doing something to support us. That goes for Democratic politicians, and the straight “progressive” community in general. Time to light a fire under their asses.

  10. says

    “people that claim to be our allies are just too apathetic when it comes to actually doing something to support us. That goes for Democratic politicians,”

    Excuse me? In this case “Iowa Senate Democrat Majority Leader Gronstal recently vowed to block any attempts to bring a marriage amendment to a vote.” In other words, allies in the Democratic party (duh!) ARE doing something to support us. It’s our opponents in the Republican party who are the problem.

    What amazes me is that so many gay people are just too apathetic to support those who actually support us. ALL of our Vermont Dem legislators have actively supported gay rights. So I support them.

  11. candideinncc says

    Kevin–it would be nice to live in a civilized community. Unfortunately, I live in the South.

  12. says

    The system is broken in that judges who do their jobs can be voted out of those jobs by an ignorant, bigoted electorate, but in other respects the system is actually working in IA. Despite all the hot air coming from the zealot Republican mouths, there is little chance they’ll get their way and be able to put this on the ballot. And, if they eventually do, so many marriages will have taken place by then, that it’s unlikely they could turn back that clock. Unlike ME and CA, IA makes it difficult to put civil rights up for a popular vote. Civil rights should never be put on a ballot, but better that it’s difficult than easy. Right now, NOM and their ilk are more bark than bite in IA, unless you’re one of the unfortunate judges.

    @ GAYLIB, yes the straight population, even liberals, are apathetic, but without the Dem’s keeping a check on the homosexuality-obsessed Repub’s in IA, marriage equality would be in more danger.

  13. says

    Iowa is already losing one congressional seat in 2012. Maybe we can squeeze someone like Steve King out of congress in 2012.

    However, we could play evil and encourage people to move out of Iowa due to their inhospitable attitude on LGBT people. We can use the free market to keep businesses away from the state.

    Imagine a tech company or manufacturing firm saying to the governor, your state is mean to gays and we will take our business to Washington state or Nevada instead.

  14. Ben says

    “Letting people vote away other peoples’ rights is not democracy. It’s anarchy.”

    No, it’s worse than that. It’s tyranny.

  15. kodiak says

    Activist Republican Leader.

    How can these people who represent “traditional values” not see
    that voting away rights from a class of people is a bad thing?
    Where’s the traditional value in that? Maybe “traditional values” is a term that refers back to the Salem Witch Trials. Seems like the same mentality.

    I wish we (gay peeps) could take away from them what we are not allowed to have, and throw in some hetero-bashing, and various other kinds of discrimination, hatred, jokes, and suicide. Dream on.

  16. Jerry6 says

    The “Locals” will never let us be free. Nothing happened with Race discrimination until President Johnson said “Enough is Enough”. Nothing will happen with us until a President says “Enough is Enough”. How about it, Mr President? Show the Bigots of the religious wrong that their day has ended.

  17. Jeff says

    I see a problem with being able to vote out the judges in any supreme court. The US supreme court judges are there until they retire. This makes it better in that they are not influenced by threat of a vote to remove them if they do not do what the majority want, instead of what is legally right. If the people don’t like it, then they need to go through the legal system and get new laws passed that they want, not retaliating against someone who did the right thing.