After Sunday’s column focusing on the out-of-context quote at the center of an effort to oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, I received this thoughtful email from Pastor Ed Kraft at Grace Community Church in Shellsburg:
I agree with your article. I call myself a Conservative pastor (Christian) and I will state that I am opposed to the concept of same-sex marriage based upon my understanding of the Bible. But, I am also opposed to distorting the truth to push an agenda. It is sad to see people manipulating truths by segregating them from context. I believe the Justices acted upon the context of the constitution and ruled accordingly. I may not agree with the result but I cannot disagree with their obligatory ruling. If the constitution were to be changed then I would have the confidence that men and women like Justice Wiggins would rule accordingly. To sacrifice the messenger because of the message is unjust. The Bible instructs us to pray for those in leadership in government, and I and my church intend to continue to pray for honest men like Judge Wiggins, who will keep to the principles and responsibilities of his office even at the risk of his own job security.
And he wasn’t the only same-sex marriage opponent who expressed support for Wiggins on Sunday. Former Iowa House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, used an op-ed in the Sioux City Journal to explain his support for Wiggins. He describes a meeting he had with Chuck Hurley, then head of the Family Policy Center:
Hurley was in my office to convince me that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act needed to be put in the state Constitution. Being in state code wasn’t good enough. Based on rulings in other states it was likely to be overturned. The only way to protect one-man-and-one-woman marriage was to put it in the Constitution.
He convinced me and we began the process of trying to pass a constitutional amendment – that failed because Republicans in the Iowa Senate couldn’t muster the votes.
Flash forward to today. The FAMiLY Leader, out on their bus tour, would have us believe that our Supreme Court hijacked the Constitution, usurping the roles of chief executive and Legislature. Justice Wiggins must go or the republic will fail.
That is not true. That is why I will vote YES to retain Justice Wiggins.
I didn’t like the decision, but I wasn’t surprised by it. Nor do I think the judges hatched some nefarious plot of judicial activism. Remember, most of the judges were appointees from Gov.Branstad’s first four terms.
I share this story because those who want to toss Justice Wiggins are the same ones who came to me knowing the law wouldn’t stand up to constitutional scrutiny. Why else put it in the Constitution? Every lawyer I talked to in advance of the ruling who read the briefs submitted to the court told me the law was going to be tossed.
In short, the court did what we expected. Today’s outrage rings hollow.
Please click through and read the whole thing. (One correction. Marsha Ternus and Mark Cady were the only Branstad appointees on the court when it ruled in Varnum. Cady wrote the ruling. Michael Streit was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Branstad before Tom Vilsack put him on the Supreme Court.)
I think it’s beginning to sink in more and more in Iowa. The court made a constitutionally sound ruling. Even if you dislike the outcome, that’s no reason to fire the justices who rendered it. And this misguided crusade for retribution could do considerable harm.