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 Iowa, the Supreme Court created same-sex “marriage” in a lawsuit brought by homosexual couples, determining that they had the same “right” to marry as traditional married couples.
Members of the Iowa Supreme Court who unanimously adopted same-sex ‘marriage’ for the state
But Moore noted that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act specified one-man and one-woman marriages, so the justices actually were violating the law they were sworn to uphold. Moore noted that the original Iowa Constitution forbade “sodomy.”
The surge of condemnation for the three justices – the only ones from the high court on the ballot this year – sends “a signal all across the nation,” Moore said.
“People are tired of activist judges who rule not according to their own constitution and laws of their state,” he said. “If they are removed, it will stop this judicial activism.”
He quoted from the Iowa court’s own opinion that it could “protect constitutional rights … even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted or at one time [were] unimagined.”
“What they are saying is that they can give rights to individuals that were at one time unimagined. If that’s not judicial activism …” he said. “What’s to stop them from letting men marry their own daughters. Brothers marry sisters. A whole village becoming a marriage.”
Former GOP candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats, a spokesman for a grass-roots group trying to oust the three judges, said the Iowa For Freedom campaign was launched because the decision simply was wrong.
“On April 3, 2009, this court did what it cannot do and God help this country and this state if we allow them to do it,” he told the Cedar Falls Courier.
A Des Moines Register poll found 40 percent of voters plan to vote to remove all three judges, and 44 percent will try to keep them, leaving the outcome a virtual tossup.
According to the Iowa Independent, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has concluded that voters really have no choice but to reject the judges.
“Iowa law says that marriage is only between ‘a male and a female,'” King said. “No judge can be allowed to remain on the bench who would turn thousands of years of law and human history on its head by discovering rights that ‘were at one time unimagined’ in our Constitution,” he told the newspaper.
Officials with the state Supreme Court declined to respond to WND requests for comment. Nor did Ternus respond to a message left by WND with her personal office staff.
A Des Moines newspaper report affirmed that the results will ripple beyond the edges of Iowa’s borders.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington told the newspaper in an interview, “What you see happening here is a precedent being set, and other states will feel comfortable following it.”
It was, according to the Sioux City Journal, former Iowa Supreme Court judge Mark McCormick who called those who oppose same-sex “marriage” and the imposition of that status by a court “the mob.”
He told the newspaper, “But the campaign here is one that is an effort to try to intimidate judges, not just in Iowa, but everywhere; not to carry out their constitutional responsibilities but to defer to the mob or to what is perceived to be a majority view and not to make an unpopular decision. But we depend on our courts to make unpopular decisions. They protect us. Courts exist to protect individual rights. They do not exist necessarily to protect the interest of the majority from time to time.”
To which Vander Plaats suggested of his fellow Iowans, “This isn’t about the mob, this is about we, the people.”
No Iowa Supreme Court justice has been removed from the bench by a vote of the people in nearly 50 years. But when voters have been given the chance to define marriage in their own states, 30 times out of 30 they’ve chosen to define it as being between a man and a woman, only.
A similar fight also is going on in California. There a homosexual federal judge who ruled that gender “no longer forms an essential part of marriage” struck down the state’s voter-approved Proposition 8 constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman only.
The issue now is before an appellate court.
Judge Vaughn Walker, who a short time after his decision announced he was quitting the bench, said:
- “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
- “Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
- “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
- “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
- “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
- “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”
Walker’s decision had disregarded the terse warning contained in California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter’s dissenting opinion in a 2008 case on same-sex “marriage.” That case saw same-sex “marriage” imposed by judicial fiat on the state, a result that was reversed by the Prop 8 vote.
Baxter had warned of the “legal jujitsu” required to establish same-sex “marriage” by court order.
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” Baxter warned in his dissent. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter wrote.
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