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(D)-Moan, Iowa

by Jeremy Hooper

Speaking about the Iowa marriage equality ruling, a Family Research Council writer (credited as president Tony Perkins) writes the following:

Moreover, the Iowa Supreme Court imposed homosexual marriage against the people's wishes earlier this year in Varnum v. Brien. How many Republicans on that court? Zero. Something is gravely amiss in the Hawkeye State.
Intolerant Iowa? Republicans Need Not Apply [FRC]

A statement that is an absolute crock of bullcrap-infused hogwash! First off, even if we know certain leanings about certain judges, we typically don't know the actual party affiliation of all appointed justices. Family Research Council has NO credible basis to claim that the Iowa Supreme Court is completely filled with non-Picture 10-135Republicans, as there is no real indicator that every last member of the seven-member panel has a (D) or (I) or (pro-LGBTQ) next to their name! Any attempt to label every last member is done so out of pure speculation.

But what do we know about the court? Well, we know that the man who authored the Varnum opinion, Mark S. Cady, was appointed by a conservative Republican governor, Terry Branstad. And so was the chief justice of the court, Marsha Ternus. So if either of those two extremely prominent figures in this ruling are too liberal for the Family Research Council's liking, then the person who was "gravely amiss" in putting them there was a member of their own political team!!!

But hey, when it comes to bashing learned members of the judiciary, when have the anti-gay conservatives ever been encumbered by fact?

**UPDATE: Iowa political reporter Dave Price did some research and found that three of the justices (Streit, Wiggins, and Hecht) are in fact registered Democrats. However, a majority (Baker, Appel, and the aforementioned Ternus and Cady) are all listed as "no party."

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Your thoughts

They did a similar thing in California. Yes on 8 ads used a line about how "unelected judges" redefined marriage for 36 million Californians. They forgot to mention that the justices ARE subject to retention or removal by popular vote every 12 years. Later, in a shameless about face, the Yes on 8 crowd threatened to use that very process to unseat any justice who did not vote to uphold 8.

Also, all but one of the current seven justices were appointed by either Gov Deukmejian, Gov Wilson or Gov Schwarzenegger . All of them Republicans and among the most conservative govs in recent memory. They forgot to mention that too I guess.

Posted by: WilliamM | Aug 6, 2009 10:18:05 PM

A good chunk of our state supreme court was appointed by Republican governors.

Posted by: Vast | Aug 7, 2009 6:44:38 AM

Not sure about Iowa, but in California, three of the four justices who voted for same-sex marriage rights are Republican, as are the three who voted against same-sex rights. Not all Republicans are idealogues, just most of them.

Posted by: Houston Bridges | Aug 7, 2009 3:37:21 PM


Actually neither Wilson nor Schwarzenegger could be called conservative Republicans, much less "most conservative". Actually Ahnold's record on gay issues is better than his predecessor, Gray Davis.

But you are right. The phobes didn't mention party affiliation in CA's Supremes. Most are Republicans.

And even some of those who voted "no" on the In Re. Marriages case said that they favored same-sex marriage personally but couldn't find the right in the constitution.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Aug 7, 2009 4:51:48 PM


What I meant to say was "all were Republicans and among the most conservative California governors in recent memory."

I agree with you that there are many California Republicans and some Democrats who lean much further to the right on many issues including gay rights.

I can see how my the wording in my original post lead to some confusion. I should have been more specific.

Posted by: WilliamM | Aug 8, 2009 2:42:01 PM

The Iowa Supreme Court is generally considered conservative. Old school conservative, not the loud mouthed insane wackaloon conservative like Tony Perkins.

Posted by: Owen | Aug 9, 2009 11:33:27 AM

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