Iowa Republicans–Bigots, not constitutionalists

Iowa Republicans have laid bare their bigotry by openly calling for the ouster of State Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins who is up for a retention vote this fall.  Now I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure the legal reasoning behind the same-sex marriage ruling that has Iowa Republicans all hot and bothered is pretty cut and dry.  Correct me if I’m wrong, please!

Iowa GOP chairman urges “no” vote on Iowa Supreme Court justice by O. Kay Henderson for Radio Iowa, Aug. 1, 2012

The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party has issued a “call to action,” urging Iowa voters to toss an Iowa Supreme Court justice off the bench.

To my mind, Iowa Republicans and anyone who votes to oust Justice Wiggins based on the marriage equality ruling give up the right to call themselves constitutionalists, constructionists, originalists, or non-bigots.

In other news, my heterosexual marriage has remained strong despite the ability of same sex couples to marry here in Iowa.


Equal parts ridiculous, funny, and frightening: a Focus on the Family video on BHO and marriage equality

Dammit, we demand our right to discriminate!

Via Christian Nightmares

A Daily Disgust Hero: 5th Grader Kameron Slade

Kameron Slade is a 5th grade student in Queens, New York, who wrote a well thought out, articulate, and cogent speech in support of same-sex marriage.  With this speech, Kameron won his classroom speech competition, earning him the right to present his speech to the whole school.  The school’s principal, fearful of controversy, let young Kameron know that he would have to write a new speech about a new topic in order to speak in front of the school.

As an teacher, I must admit that at times it seems easier to avoid controversial issues in the classroom.  I am amazed, however, at the maturity and thoughtfulness of my students when classroom discussion does lead to difficult topics.  As Kameron points out, kids will certainly be exposed to these “difficult” topics in their lives, we do them a disservice if we try to hide them:

I think adults must realize that as children get older, they become aware of these mature issues that are going on in the world. If children read or watch the news, they can learn about things like same-gender marriage, so what’s the point in trying to hide it?

I am reminded of a passage from my studies of social studies education that has stuck with me like no other.  It comes from a piece written by Alan F. Griffin in 1942 comparing education within democratic and authoritarian societies.

In the United States, we tend to concern ourselves much less about the specific content of a child’s initial belief than about his ability to modify these beliefs appropriately later on.

In other words, we should not be interested in telling students what to think, but rather giving them the tools to think for themselves.  If we teach them that there are topics that we really just shouldn’t talk about in school, how will they ever learn the critical thinking skills that our country so desperately need right now?

Thank you, Kameron, for your insights and for reminding us that as educators we need to treat you and your peers with intellectual honesty.

Video via ThinkProgress and NY1.  I found it through Gawker.

Thank you, President Obama

Your words in support of equal rights are appreciated.

Oh, and thank you, Mr. President, for reading my blog.

Dwayne Alons, Iowa, R-Hull: homophobic and dangerously misinformed

Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, is the Iowa representative who recently advocated defunding Iowa’s judiciary in retaliation for the State Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in favor of marriage equality.  The following is video from February of 2011 in which Rep. Alons responds to some admittedly leading questions from a reporter from ThinkProgress.  Their transcript is pasted below.

TP: There is also this argument that argues that homosexuality is a public health hazard, that there are higher rates of STDs and higher rates of other diseases. Do you agree with that view?

ALONS: I think that whole lifestyle has brought a lot of problems to society…For the most part when you look at some of the issues that have been brought up by homosexuals’ lifestyle, there are a lot of negatives that have been brought into society and I think government is trying to deal with that and should be dealing with.

TP: And what kind of negatives, do you think?

ALONS: Well, look at all that has been spent, you know, with the AIDS and with the issues related to the dying at an early age. I think life, longevity, of a lot of these folks is below 50, when you know, the normal people that do not enter into that kind of relationship, their either late into their 70s or early 80s for longevity. A lot more actual productive years and contributing to society. […]

TP: So do you think there are ways for the state to discourage this kind of behavior that leads to the kind of public health problems that you’ve described?

ALONS: I think having a limitation on one man and one woman would be a pathway to get that as a basic foundational direction.

In other words the state has an interest in protecting the gays from themselves before they go and get that AIDS and die in their forties.  It is a disgrace to our state to have people like this in our legislature.  It’s one thing to oppose marriage equality on religious or moral grounds, although I would still call you a bigot, it’s wholly another to use ridiculous made up statistics to back up your position.

To paraphrase the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is welcome to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Iowa Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull: Withhold court funding until gay marriage justices off the bench

Iowa Representative Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, Iowa’s answer to Indiana Representative Bob Morris, R-Ft. Wayne, believes that the state should defund the court system until the remaining justices who unanimously ruled in favor of marriage equality are removed.  From Radio Iowa:

Representative Dwayne Alons, a Republican from Hull, objects to the court’s 2009 ruling on gay marriage. “I believe as long as we have four supreme court justices that, in are my view, should be subject to impeachment….I cannot support any money going to the court system,” Alons said during today’s debate. “I believe impeachment should be addressed first.”

Where to start…

Well, first of all, let’s start with simple facts.  Of the seven justices who unanimously ruled that “If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded,” only three remain on the bench, not four as Alons mistakenly believes.  Three were memorably and shamefully voted off the court when their retention came up for a vote in 2010.  The campaign to not retain those justices was of course spearheaded by bigoted influence peddler Bob Vander Plaats.  Rep. Alons was able to remember that, clearly, but Chief Justice Rosemary Sackett’s retirement last fall apparently escaped his attention.

OK, so he got his numbers wrong.  But the rest of it makes sense, right?  He disagrees with one ruling made by one court in the state, so it makes sense to shut down the rest of them, right?  Oh, of course not, this guy is an idiot.  And an asshole.

Hopefully this means we won’t vote to remove any more Justices

I was as ashamed of Iowa as I’ve ever been when the people of this state voted to remove three of the Iowa Supreme Court Justices who unanimously ruled in favor of marriage equality.  Fortunately a new poll suggests that equality (along with sanity) may be gaining some ground here in the Hawkeye state.

Iowa Poll: Majority opposes ban on same-sex marriage by William Petroski, The Des Moines Register, Feb. 26, 2012

A majority of Iowans oppose passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

The poll found that 38 percent favor a legislative initiative to pass a constitutional amendment, while 56 percent are against. Six percent aren’t sure.

Hopefully these numbers coupled with the fallout from Bob Vander Plaats’ pay-for-play scandal will keep the remaining Justices in their jobs!