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11/05/2010

French kisses Iowa vote; we think anti-gay side using too much tongue

by Jeremy Hooper

The Alliance Defense Fund's David French is using the Iowa judicial retention vote to question whether same-sex marriage is actually inevitable:

I don’t have my head in the sand. I see the poll data indicating that young people increasingly support same-sex marriage, but I also believe that much of that support is soft — dependent on the unique peer pressures and ideological environment on college campuses. Once students emerge into the “real world” will they be so willing to further experiment with an institution already so damaged by no-fault divorce and cohabitation? We shall see.

But until then, can we please hold off on the “inevitable” talk until same-sex marriage can actually win elections?

If Same-Sex Marriage is Allegedly Inevitable . . . [Speak Up blog]

But here's the thing: The Iowa judge vote was a battle between one hyper-motivated, highly-funded, out-of-state-supported coalition solely focused on the single issue of same-sex marriage vs. everyone else in the state. That hyper-motivated coalition told supporters that they had to cast a non-retention vote to send a message and/or appease god. They told supporters that this was the most important vote in Iowa, if not the nation. Meanwhile, the ragtag "everyone else" coalition did not have one unifying message, since it included marriage equality supporters who supported the judges, marriage equality supporters who opposed retention for other reasons, indifferent voters, apathetic voters, gay marriage non-supporters who weren't involved with the "Iowa For Freedom" campaign (and therefore either retained or not for a myriad of other reasons), people who forgot to turn their ballot over, people who didn't give a damn enough to vote on retention, young voters who always turn out at disproportionately low rates (esp. in midterm elections), etc. etc. So of course the deck was stacked towards non-retention! This site, which covered the IFF campaign with the finest of fine tooth combs, felt that way from the very beginning.

The retention vote was only a same-sex marriage test for the anti-LGBT crowd that turned it into one! In a perfect Iowa, citizens of any political stripe or sexual orientation would have been free to follow their own minds and do their own research into the judges' full records, then cast whatever vote was on their conscience for whatever reason. The judge vote, by its very design, should not have been politicized in any way. There certainly shouldn't have been a national takeaway about whether or not gay Americans will ever be free to resume their lives from the pause they've had to place on it in order to fight this needless marriage battle. But the anti-gay crowd, ever in search of a vindictive "harumph!" against equality and the supposed "judicial activism" that decides in its favor, turned Streit/Baker/Ternus' careers into a lopsided us vs. them game. We only had to play along because of their own choice to roll the discriminatory dice.

The truly remarkable thing to this writer's eyes: That people like David French keep coming out and fully admitting that they wanted this to be a de facto referendum on same-sex marriage. At first these kids were more coy about it, seemingly realizing that the concept was anti-intellectual and anti-judicious. But now they seem to fully embrace it. Perhaps a majority of Americans will go along with this bizarrely revelatory ride, offering up a "right on!" to this undeniably shortsighted misuse of one state's retention system -- stranger things have happened. But I know if I were politically consulting their side, I'd advise toning down the out-of-state gloating that's been de rigueur in the "protect marriage" movement since Wednesday morning.

Though the beauty part: Since I'm instead working to educate and embolden the team that values judicial fairness, equal protection, due process, intellectual assessment of careers rather than solitary decisions, church/state separation, and state votes that are less like games of Moral Monopoly and more like exercises in moving the jurisdiction along its civil course, I can I come out and say: Keep talking, judge-ousters! After all, an obfuscator's overplayed hand often has a way of speeding up inevitability's predestined arrival.

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