Chief Justice Mark Cady: No Regrets Over Marriage Equality Ruling


On last night's episode of “Iowa Press," Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady was asked by the program's interviewer if he regretted bringing marriage equality to the state in 2009.

“Absolutely not. That decision was crafted with all of the energy, all of the strength — everything that we do as judges is in that opinion,” Cady said. “Everything that Iowa is about is in that opinion.” According to Cady, the uproar will not deter the court from taking other controversial cases.

6a00d8341c730253ef0133ec6edddc970b “Judges accept that as their role in society,” Cady said. “Even a judge that makes a ruling in a criminal case that may result in the suppression of evidence may not be a popular decision, but judges make their decisions based upon the rule of law and that’s what their duty is and that’s the importance and the strength of all of our government.”

Critics of the court’s ruling on same-sex marriage said Cady was “arrogant” when he delivered a formal speech to legislators this past Wednesday and had “poured gasoline” on the effort to impeach Cady and the three justices who remain on the court.

“I understand how there are differing views that may give rise to speech like that,” Cady said. “But as I said also in the speech isthat I think it’s time for all of us to get to know each other a little bit better.”

He went on to comment on the aftermath of last fall's ouster of those three judges who also voted to bring marriage equality to Iowa: “To see empty offices even now is a stark, sad reminder that we’ve lost three colleagues that were extremely devoted, dedicated people that served this state proudly.”

Earlier this month, GOP Iowa Governor-Elect Terry Branstad said that while he doesn't support impeachment of the remaining four judges, he does suggest voting them out when they are up for retention. Meanwhile those four judges  resumed hearing cases this past Thursday for the first time since their colleagues were ousted.

Watch the full video of Cady's "Iowa Press" interview on Iowa Public Television's site.


  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Here’s another quote from Justice Cady:

    “This is about applying the law, applying our constitution, and doing what judges have always been doing,” he said. (from

    Although he was referring to the Iowa state Constitution, this is a lesson for those of you who think the US Constitution is old-fashioned and that we’re better off with make-it-up-as-we-go-along fluid interpretations about things like, oh, maybe who can be our President. If you respect and obey the constitution (to the letter and without exception) then it will there for you when YOUR court case is being decided. If you ignore or denigrate it, then it will be flouted and ignored first by the public then by judges who see no value in sacrificing their careers for what everyone regards as a quaint relic. So go ahead and call people “birthers” because you mistakenly think it makes you superior to them, but you’re shitting on our Constitution when you do.

  2. New jersey boi says

    Excuse me dear beaverhausen! You people are called northers because you refuse to believe the FACTS of Obama,
    ‘s birth. The only people who believe in the fantasyof obama’s Kenyan birth are you racist morons.
    And in regards to the rest of your mistaken Constitution ramblings; you know nothing. You are a child, like the rest of you birthers. A tiny intellectual midget Who pretends to understand the law.

    But hey- who are we to stop moron Glenn Beck’s God Warriors!!!

    Take your lunacy elsewhere toddler.

  3. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    The facts are on Obama’s original birth certificate and I’ve never questioned that. My only concern is that the Constitution is respected for everyone at all times, because every now and then it’s our issue and our time. Otherwise you leave our enemies a “yes, but…” way to deny our rights.

    The requirements for obtaining a Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth are overly lax (as has been previously explained in detail here and elsewhere) and the remedy would be burdensome and expensive for Hawaii, but that’s their problem because they voted for their dumbshit legislators and governors who hired more dumbshits to run the Health Department’s record-keeping operation.

    It’s funny how you anti-constitutionalists keep calling me racist when I’ve never mentioned anyone’s race, and you don’t even know my race.

  4. says

    So, Anastasia, you think the IA Supreme Court justice is a birther and shares your doubts about the president’s legitimacy because he also believes that excluding gay couples from civil marriage is unconstitutional? Maybe I’m craaaazzzy and missed the logical connection here, but I don’t see much overlap between birther claims and rational judges who support our civil rights.

  5. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Ernie: Thanks for raising a reasonable question (so you’re probably not crazy, but I’m no authority).

    I do NOT have doubts about Obama’s legitimacy as President, but I recognize that there are people who are actively attacking his authority and accomplishments by saying he doesn’t meet the requirements for the office stated in the Constitution. The new Governor says the original birth certificate — which will shut the “birthers” up for good — will be released, but that was weeks ago and it hasn’t happened yet.

    Justice Cady noted that the Iowa Supreme Court reached their pro-marriage decision because the Constitution required them to do so, and he’s absolutely correct. That doesn’t make him a “birther”, but if we ignore constitional priciples on one issue (because it’s inconvenient to our wishes) then we invite others, including State and Federal Supreme Court justices, to ignore the constitution on our issues. We know the opponents of equality always have a “yes, but… ” argument, and we need to be able to say “no exceptions” and really mean it. No asterisks, no footnotes, no weasel words, just integrity. That’s why the US Supreme Court’s appointment of GW Bush (in violation of the Constitution) will always make him an illegitimate president and his misdeeds all the worse.

    The overlap you seek is the Constitution. Either you respect it for all or you’ll get no respect from it when it matters to you.

  6. sparks says

    “It’s funny how you anti-constitutionalists keep calling me racist when I’ve never mentioned anyone’s race, and you don’t even know my race.” (Anastasia Beaverhausen)

    Are you naive enough to think that your race, whatever it is, could exempt you from being justifiably called a racist?

    That’d be like saying a gay person can’t be anti-gay in the face of a growing number of exposed republicans who are glaring examples.

  7. plaintom says

    I know little of Iowa’s politics. I don’t know if Justice Cady is a Republican or a Democrat, conservative or liberal. Just on the basis of this one opinion and his defense of that decision, he most sincerely is devoted to the law. I hope there are enough judges who follow his model. For us to achieve equality (at this time), we will need a fair and impartial judicial system.

  8. Jonathan says

    The removal of the three judges from the bench in Iowa was a travesty. It was intended to send a chilling message to courts and judges who hear cases involving not only marriage equality cases but gay rights cases as well.

  9. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Sparks: I’ve been accused of being anti-black because Obama is 50% black (or that’s the story — I suppose we’ll know for certain when his birth certificate is released, NOT THAT I CARE).

    Are you naïve enough to think that the accusation is about anything else?

  10. Clyde says

    Actually, Iowa is all about hatred and bigotry so why is anyone surprised at the backlash from the equality ruling? Why do gay men and lesbians continue to live and pay taxes to these states that despise them?

  11. Ahodie says

    Clyde, I think you’re mistaking Iowa for Nebraska. Why should we have to move? So what if people despise us, we aren’t living for them, we’re living for us. Are all the gays just supposed to leave the state at 18? And go…..where? Iowa is NOT about hatred and bigotry, Iowa has historically been on the side of civil rights, many times before the entire country. Clark vs. Board of Directors, 1868 – 85 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, sided against racial segregation. Iowa rejected slavery 26 years before the Civil War. Iowa was the first state to allow women to practice law. Iowa isn’t as backwards as most people think. No one here really cares who you love or marry, just the evangelicals and they’re always up in someone’s business. Until we abolish religion, that’s always going to happen.

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