All three Iowa Supreme Court justices up for retention election have been ousted from the bench.
Around 54 percent of Iowans voted not to retain each of the three judges: Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and associate justices Michael J. Streit and David L. Baker. The campaign for the judges ouster was based on the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.
There were 74 judges, including three Supreme Court justices, on the ballot Tuesday. Only the Supreme Court justices, however, came anywhere close to being removed from the bench.
The highly charged campaign featured more than $1 million in spending against the judges from national anti-gay organizations like the Mississippi-based American Family Association, 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 campaign culminated in a 20-city bus tour across Iowa.
The groups pushing for ouster promised that this was simply the first battle in a nationwide war against gay marriage and gay rights.
“If you rise up you will see states calling, other people from other states phoning and e-mailing and coming to find out how you did it because they too want to take their state back,” said Tamara Scott, of the Concerned Women of America’s Iowa chapter and a participant in the bus tour.
Despite the ouster of the judges, though, same-sex marriage continues to be legal in Iowa, and outgoing Democratic Gov. Chet Culver has the authority to appoint the judges’ successors.