A campaign is underway in Iowa to unseat three state Supreme Court Justices who were part of a unanimous decision last year to allow same-sex marriage.
The group Iowa For Freedom, a new political-action committee, wants voters to remove the justices on Nov. 2 in retaliation for what it calls “blatant judicial activism” when the Court ruled in 2009 that said there was “no important governmental interest in denying citizens marriage licenses based on their sexual orientation.”
A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released this week shows that 44% of Iowans who plan to vote in the retention election say they will vote “yes” to all three justices; 40% say they will vote to remove all three; and 16% say they want to retain some.
More than one-fourth of all likely voters are either undecided or plan to leave the retention boxes blank, according to the poll.
Three justices are named in the challenge are Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit.
Iowa for Freedom is affiliated with the Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA), considered “among the most vigilant and vicious and anti-gay activists operating today” by the Right-Wing Watch.
Joining the AFA is the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which reported spending more than $235,000 on a television ad that targets the three justices.
“This was a unanimous decision, an impartial decision, a decision based on the state constitution of Iowa. But none of that matters,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. “Now they’re trying to intimidate judges whose job it is to interpret the law. Shame on them.”
Gay marriage was legalized in Iowa on April 27, 2009 following an April 3, 2009 state Supreme Court ruling.
No Iowa Supreme Court justice has lost a seat since Iowa adopted a merit-selection and retention system in 1962. Ousting the justices would not undo the ruling on same-sex marriage or change the way judges are selected in the state.