An Iowa political action group is pushing for the retention of a state Supreme Court justice who is the target of a campaign to oust him because of his vote for marriage equality.
Justice Not Politics Action, an offshoot of nonprofit organization Justice Not Politics, is urging voters to retain Justice David Wiggins, who is up for a retention vote this year, The Des Moines Register reports. Three other justices who joined in the court’s unanimous vote for marriage equality in 2009 were removed from office by voters when they came up for retention in 2010.
Iowans for Freedom, a branch of the antigay group Family Leader, is calling for voters to remove Wiggins from the court. “We are very passionate about our effort to restore integrity to the Iowa Supreme Court by ensuring the constitutional intent for the separation of powers,” Iowans for Freedom chairman Bob Vander Plaats, who led the effort to oust the other justices, said in a news release earlier this month.
Justice Not Politics Action chairwoman Sally Pederson, a former Iowa lieutenant governor, responded that judicial retention should not be about political stances. “There are Democrats and Republicans out there who support the courts and who understand that it’s important to keep politics out of the courts system,” she told the Register.
Justice Not Politics Action is kicking off its campaign by recruiting volunteers and distributing literature at Saturday’s football game between the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa in Iowa City. Zach Wahls, a son of lesbian parents who made news last year with his impassioned pro–marriage equality speech before the state legislature, is scheduled to be among the activists working at the game. He also will speak about the retention campaign at U.S. senator Tom Harkin’s steak fry event in Indianola Sunday.