Roundup: Homophobia Alive and Well in Iowa

Beth Saunders

Thanks to massive spending from out-of-state "family" groups, three judges in Iowa are ousted for their decision on gay marriage in the state. Plus, a sex ed jamboree!

Homophobia is alive and well in Iowa. Three of the judges who determined that banning gay marriage in the state was unconstitutional were ousted by voters yesterday.  In Iowa, judges are appointed, then need to be retained by voters. This is the first time judges have been removed since Iowa started the retention system in 1962.

And who funded the ouster? Surprise, surprise:

Led by Mississippi-based American Family Association, the effort was aided by groups such as 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.

The organizations spent more than $1 million to oust the judges, with the campaign culminating in a 20-city bus tour across Iowa urging voters to kick the judges off the bench. Local leaders of the effort said rejecting the judges would set the stage for the fight over gay marriage and gay rights in Iowa and across the country.

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And how much did the judges spend? Oh, zero million?

The judges chose not to raise money and campaign. But a group of former governors, lawyers and judges formed as Fair Courts For Us to support them, saying Iowa’s independent judiciary was at risk if a one-issue campaign succeeded in removing the justices.

Look out, judges in Iowa who stand for the equal protection of all citizens! You could be the next target.  

In other gay marriage election news, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor of California. Does this mean voters in California feel differently on gay marriage than they did when the passed Proposition 8?

Newsom became a lightening rod for criticism in recent years during the state’s high-profile debates over same-sex marriage. Newsom angered gay-marriage opponents when he began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples at San Francisco City Hall in 2004. That led to several court battles and culminated in 2008’s Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to ban same-sex unions.

Mini-Roundup: On a lighter note, musicians in North Carolina are raising money for an informative web site on sexuality education. What could be better than a sex ed jamboree?!

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