DES MOINES — Gay marriage dominated Iowa political talk Wednesday sparked by state GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker’s call to Republicans to oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins in November.
…Spiker announced the recall effort in an email Wednesday that said, “Just as Iowans successfully showed in 2010, it is again time to put a check on this power and reign in an activist judge from his position of misused authority … This is the only chance voters have to make their voice heard and we must take the opportunity to remove Justice David Wiggins from his post and show him his arrogance and disregard for the law does indeed have consequences.”
In a statement Wednesday, Wiggins said he stood behind all of his decisions on the court.
“Our system is built on checks and balances between independent branches of government. Two of the branches are designed to be political. It is unfortunate that Mr. Spiker apparently thinks that all three branches should be political,” he said. “I have always viewed the role of the judiciary as limited, and I am proud of my work in writing opinions and helping resolve the issues that are brought before the court.”
In November 2010, voters removed three sitting Iowa Supreme Court justices who had joined the unanimous opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in the state by voting “no” for their retention on the ballot. That effort was largely organized by the Family Leader, a conservative Christian group headed by Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats. Wiggins is the only judge who took part in the opinion who is up for retention this November.
…“I find it a little disappointing that this is what the state party wants to focus on,” said Josh Byrnes, a Republican state representative from Osage.
Byrnes said his views on same sex marriage — he does not oppose it — changed after he found out that a friend from high school married a same-sex partner and adopted children.
“He and his partner have been great parents, probably better than a lot of others out there,” Byrnes said. “My phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook about same-sex marriage. Look, I respect their opinions on it, but the constituents I talk to want to talk about education and the economy.”
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