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Leaders say much at stake in retention vote



This news story was published on September 30, 2012.
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Bob Vander Plaats, in Mason City, Iowa on September 25th, 2012.

James Q. Lynch, CR Gazette –

JOHNSTON — As unlikely as it might seem, Bob Vander Plaats, who is leading the campaign to oust an Iowa Supreme Court justice, and Iowa State Bar Association President Cindy Moser agree on what’s at stake in this fall’s judicial retention vote.

Justice David Wiggins, who was part of the court’s unanimous decision to strike down a state law banning same-sex marriage, is on the ballot, but Vander Plaats and Moser said the larger issue is a wholesale change in the way Iowa judges and justices are put on the bench.

“Freedom is the bigger issue,” Vander Plaats, the president of the conservative Christian group The Family Leader, which is spearheading the anti-retention vote, said Friday during a taping of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television. “If they will do this to the institution of marriage, it’s a private property issue, it’s a 2nd Amendment issue, it’s a religious liberty issue. It’s a freedom issue.”

Moser, a Sioux City attorney, said she sees a “much broader agenda at play” than simply defending traditional marriage.

“It is not just the removal of a justice that they believe acted improperly,” she said. Vander Plaats and The Family Leader seek “a wholesale change in the merit selection process that has served our state so well.”

Vander Plaats agreed.

“What we would like to see is a wholesale new process of how you appoint judges to the bench,” he said. He wants to remove the “heavy influence” the bar association and its members have in nominating judges for the governor to appoint to the bench.

“That’s why (the bar association has) so much at stake, that’s why they are so passionate about protecting that institution versus protecting the constitution,” Vander Plaats said.

Although he predicted that “freedom-loving conservatives” will vote “no” on retaining Wiggins, Vander Plaats conceded the battle is more difficult than two years ago, when his campaign to remove three justices was successful. Now, it’s a matter of reminding and re-engaging the base, he said.

“Any time you get the team back into the locker room and say, ‘We have to do it again,’ it will always be a more difficult battle,” he said. However, after spending the week on the road leading “No Wiggins” rallies, he said he believes “it’s a very doable battle.”

But a poll showing 48 percent of Iowa voters support the same-sex marriage decision and President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage are indicators that public sentiment has changed since 2010, Moser said.

“Society, in general, has moved toward acceptance of same-sex marriage as an acceptable way of life,” she said.

Iowa Press can be seen at noon Sunday on IPTV and is available here online.

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19 Responses to Leaders say much at stake in retention vote

  1. Junior Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    OK then, yes, we as a society have changed many things over history. Indeed, it takes all kinds to make up a world. In contrast, it takes lawyers and legislation to make up a law.
    People are going to be with whoever they want to be with, in our society at least. Live and let live I say.
    There is a part of me that is confused about making a simile of an interracial marriage and a same sex union. Are we not comparing apples and oranges here?

  2. Observer Reply Report comment

    October 5, 2012 at 12:25 am

    “It seems that the biggest problem is the perception that the definition of marriage is being forced to change.”

    In that respect, you are correct. But one has to examine how we as a people have already changed it.

    We allow laws to be written to license a marriage. We also have laws governing benefits, taxes, and insurance. Thus, has marriage been transfered into the secular world. One cannot be married in the United States, without a marriage license as the laws currently state.

    It is that secular, not religious existence, to which Constitutional protections must apply. Because of the secular functions, a government in the U.S. cannot make exceptions or exclude one group or another. I cite as precedent Loving v. Virgina:

    “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

    The meaning and intent are quite clear, and directly apply to the controversy over same sex marriage today. While there are other cases that support the idea that no State can exclude a person or a group of persons from any state given benefit, Loving speaks the loudest.

  3. oneball Reply Report comment

    October 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      October 5, 2012 at 12:32 am

      Interesting read, thank you very much for posting it.

  4. PepperAnn Reply Report comment

    October 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    LVS you are so very right…Religen has caused almost all the wars. My proof? Just look at the Islamic sects and what they do, hate Christians, hate Buddhist, hate Jews, hate Hindus, hate, hate, hate and kill, kill, kill, so much being a religion of peace and love. The Catholics have blood on their historic hands (hard to concieve some of the tortures they invented). I do not know much about the other religions but maybe they too have blood stained back grounds. All I know is that I can only manage myself, and at times I do not do a very good job. I want to be an advertisement for GOD and Christianity. Now off my soapbox.

  5. Junior Reply Report comment

    October 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I had a brief but interesting conversation with a coworker a short time ago. It seems that the biggest problem is the perception that the definition of marriage is being forced to change. That was the impression I was left with after our little discussion. Apparently there are a lot of people who detest the idea. If that is true, I for one have no problem calling it a same sex union. Just don’t call it a same sex marriage. That term is a oxymoron.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 1, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I object to anyone who tries to dress their hate up as religion.

    In my opinion, that’s what Mr. Vander Plaats is doing. Since when did Christ preach hating your fellow man? What I have never understood is how what other people do in the privacy of their own relationship threatens someone else’s marriage.

    I believe in minding my own business and letting others tend to their own. What people do in their bedrooms, and who they marry, is their own business. Period.

    • Cheter Pildren Reply Report comment

      October 1, 2012 at 4:37 am

      I agree with you that whatever people do in their bedroom and who they marry is their own business and no one else’s. However, why then is it that they want the whole world to know what goes on in their bedrooms and who they marry?

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        I don’t think it’s so much that they want everyone to know. It’s that they have to fight for the rights others have and that necessitates speaking out. So then everyone knows their business. I think if gay marriage(or unions, w/e) remains legal they will be the same as straight people. Some would have small private weddings and some would have all out extravaganzas, and all the things in between.

        I don’t really enjoy other people’s PDAs either but I feel that’s also the same. If a husband can give a wife a goodbye kiss in public, a husband should also be able to give a goodbye kiss to his husband.

        I just don’t agree with a double standard and the idea of second class marriages.

        I know you didn’t say anything that has to do with most of my post. These are just the thoughts your post brought to mind.

      • Cheter Pildren Reply Report comment

        October 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

        Well anonymous, I have to disagree with you on one thing. Homosexuals do want everyone to know their business. Consider this, a few weeks ago, Matt ran a short story with video and photo of two gals who got married at the courthouse with an accompanying photo of them kissing. They could have said no thanks to having a story done about them. When was the last time that Matt ran a story about a man and woman getting married with photos and a video as well? I highly doubt any of us will see Matt camped outside of a church anytime soon.

  7. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    “The next thing will be the witch hunts all over again. VanderPlatts is very capable of this and can justify anything he does with his religion.”

    I find that statement quite accurate. There is a direct parallel in this case. If what Mr. Vander Plaats believes that only certain groups may be married, what is to stop him from going after the Loving v. Virginia decision? (that was a case where the State of Virginia arrested and jailed a couple, one white, and one black, who married out of state, and returned to Virginia where it was illegal).

    It’s a very real threat to what “We the people” wanted in forming our more perfect union!

    Should I be concerned because I, being of German descent, married an Irish woman? According to what Mr. Vander Plaats believes, I should leave the country for fear of being jailed or sent to an evangelical camp for reformation. In that scenario, the gulags of Siberia are looking a whole lot better.

  8. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    ““Freedom is the bigger issue,” Vander Plaats, the president of the conservative Christian group The Family Leader, which is spearheading the anti-retention vote, said Friday…”

    Yes it is, the freedom of people, under the constitution, to be treated equally. You cannot refuse to one group of people what everone else can get. You cannot treat them any differently because you don’t like them.

    ” “If they will do this to the institution of marriage, it’s a private property issue, it’s a 2nd Amendment issue, it’s a religious liberty issue. It’s a freedom issue.””

    I would like Mr. Vander Plaats to explain what this statement means. It’s babble. It runs counter to the case at hand, Varnum v. Brien, where the Legislature passes an unconstitutional law, which excluded a group of people from what everyone else, under the law, had a reasonable expecatation of getting. Where is Mr. Vander Plaats concern about those Constitutional rights?

    A person’s religious beliefs and desires end at the outside steps of the government. You may not impose, under the Constitution, your religious beliefs upon the whole of the citizens. Where is Mr. Vander Plaats concern about those constitutional rights?

    This case, in which a group of people have launched unjustified attacks bases not upon law, but personal feelings. Our justice system does not work like that. It never has.

    I have said this before, I am not gay. But, clearly, as a nation, this has nothing to do with what I feel,or believe, but laws we must all abide by.

    Remember Liberty and Justice for all? By what he says, Mr. Vander Plaats is not for that ideal! And that should scare every citizen of these United States!

  9. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    It is definetly not normal or healthy but it is the easy way out for a lot of people. So, I don’t know what the answer is. I personaly don’t care what people do behind their own doors. That is their business. When they do it in front of me it becomes my business. As a person who really believes that religion should not be involved in our government I am going to vote yes. Religion has caused more deaths and wars than anything else in this world. I am not talking about the ten commandments being shown or a religious holiday as long as that is what the majority want. But, when they start trying to control our courts I get real nervous. The next thing will be the witch hunts all over again. VanderPlatts is very capable of this and can justify anything he does with his religion.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Don’t you think progressive liberalism is a religion? Religion definition: a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Witch hunts–is that like when Washington activists threatened to “out” people that signed petitions opposing expanding same-sex partnership laws? No matter what your beliefs are to pretend that progressivism and for that matter athiests aren’t their own brand of religion means it’s time to wake up and look around. When athiests want a cross removed at Ground Zero because it upsets them isn’t that imposing their relion on others as well?

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        September 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        I do agree with you on some points. One is when Atheist protest and want religious symbols removed it is wrong just like what VanderPlaats is doing. Understand, I am not a atheist or a progressive. I just believe in what is right. I have nothing against religion as such but do not conform to the dogma that seems to surround it now. I don’t try to push my beliefs on people although I think that by protecting gay rights we are opening a door we may not like, I still support people’s rights to do as they like as long as it hurts no one else. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but is does to me.

  10. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Homosexuality is abnormal. Born with the affliction it qualifies as a birth defect. As a choice it is a mental illness.

    While the gay community in harmony with the press and Hollywood elite want to reshape thinking, normal it will never be.

    If the polls are correct, which I doubt, it says the American people don’t have a mind of their own.

    Personally, I don’t believe the American People are so minded that they believe same sex is normal or healthy!

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      So you are against people with birth defects or mental illness having the right to marry?

    • Katie Reply Report comment

      September 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Blue eyes have been traced back to a single individual who had a genetic mutation about 6,000 years ago. Maybe blue-eyed people should not have been allowed to marry or reproduce at all since they had genetic defects. Oh, wait. Didn’t someone try something like that the other way around?

    • Not Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 1, 2012 at 3:58 am

      At one point in history, THUMBS were considered a birth defect as well as being born without a tail.