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Audio: Iowa for (reductive, one-dimension retention)

by Jeremy Hooper

Obfuscation, thy name is "Iowa For Freedom":

(click to play audio clip)
*AUDIO SOURCE: FRC Iowa Bus Tour Underway [FOTF]

Right. Okay. So let's start with Maggie Gallagher Srivastav. Her first soundbite:

"Nobody should be unaccountable, and in Iowa, the people have the right to decide if they want to keep these judges."

Well right, fine. And nobody on the pro-equality side is fighting against the retention vote itself. The only sticking point up for discussion is the way the so-called "Iowa For Freedom' coalition is misusing this system to cast a vindictive vote against same-sex marriage. By design, the retention vote is 6A00D8341C503453Ef013487D496D6970C-1meant to take politics out of the system, allowing the citizens to have a say based on a well-rounded assessment of the judge's record (typically guided by non-partisan groups like the state bar association, who offer a fair look into the judges' careers). But with the current IFF campaign, it's as if these jurists never did anything but decide the Varnum opinion. And the IFF folks aren't even hiding that reductive fact! In fact, they're proud of the short-sightedness!

Maggie's 2nd bite:

"They seem to think that whatever they rule is legitimate because they ruled it, that ordinary people have no stake in reading their Constitution and figuring out what's in there"

Well first off: The judges aren't kings, nor do they claim to be. They're not ruling down from on high, demanding that the peons comply with their tyranny. These are people who have dedicated their lives to an understanding of the law, and whose very job is to assess constitutional matters like this one. Independence is king. Fairness is queen. The judges bow at the throne of both.

But again: It's the IFF coalition that doesn't encourage constitutional thought here. They have not once encouraged Iowa voters to go back and look at the arguments presented at the court. They have not encouraged Iowa voters to actually read the unanimous Varnum opinion. Their entire campaign is about the supposed black-robed activists and how they are out to not only push marriage equality, but to also take away evangelical conservatives' property rights, fair taxes, gun ownership, and even mortality itself! IFF is not helping anyone "figure out what's in there": They're figuring that more people will simply listen to their talking points rather than take the time to dig a little deeper. And sadly, they might be right.

Now on to J.P. Duffy's two contributions: Well the first one is all about protestors, which is just too boring to address. Yes, D153616B-A750-003A-104Ad0548F158988counterprotestors show up. That's because driving around in a big ass bus, touting claims about gays' unions being "a degradation of God’s best design for the family," is itself an offensive protest! So yes, people show up to say as much. B.F.D.

It's J.P.'s remaining two bites that are worth examining:

"This is the first time for them to be able to have a say on marriage and how it should be protected."

"If the Iowa Supreme Court is allowed to do this to marriage, every one of our constitutional freedoms is in danger of being undermined by activist judges who are basically unelected officials

This is where J.P. totally tips his hand. He comes right out and says it: This retention vote is 100% about one single issue (marriage) and is Iowa-For-freedomtotally meant to send a message across the nation. This is deeply offensive to the judges, whose years of thankless, under-the-radar work on unglamorous cases is completely overlooked in favor of one politically-connected, well-financed group's heterosexist/homo-hostile view of marriage. And it's of course offensive to gays, who are harming no one via their civil recognition. But it's also offensive to Iowa citizens as a whole, who are seeing out-of-state groups use their state as a political springboard. This is certainly NOT what this retention process was designed to be!

Freedom is dependent on truth, not independent from the same. Iowa For Freedom hopes to flip that statement.

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