Controversial out of state groups fund campaign to oust justices

Tyler Kingkade

Iowa For Freedom, A group seeking to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices, launched its television ads this week. According to the ad, Iowa For Freedom is a joint project by two organizations; AFA Action and the National Organization for Marriage.

Iowa For Freedom is led by former three-time Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats and seeks to oust three of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who were a part of a unanimous decision in April 2009 declaring a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

The Iowa Constitution requires voters to vote to retain supreme court justices every eight years. Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice Michael J. Streit and Justice David L. Baker are up for retention on the November ballot.

AFA Action is the political arm of the conservative American Family Association, which has a record of controversial statements and campaigns.

Bryan Fischer of AFA Action wrote in his blog in last week, “The massive inbreeding in Muslim culture may well have done virtually irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health.”

Within the past month, Fischer posted blogs titled “Handle Muslims just like we handle the neo-Nazis,” “It’s not the ‘Cordoba House,’ it’s the ‘Timothy McVeigh Mosque’ at Ground Zero” and declared on Aug. 6 that homosexuals should be barred from serving in public office.

According to public disclosure records, AFA Action so far spent nearly $60,000 on IFF, the largest chunks being $24,858.88 for research and $6,719.60 for printing.

The National Organization for Marriage based in New Jersey provided $235,037 for statewide television ads to oust the three justices up for retention.

NOM formed in 2007 and campaigned for a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts to ban same-sex marriage and has been involved in similar campaigns every year since. In the summer of 2010, NOM held rallies around the country, including a stop in Des Moines, drawing counter-protests each time, often outnumbering NOM attendees.