Voters Retain Iowa Judge Who Ruled In Favor of Marriage Equality

Posted by Justin Snow
November 7, 2012 2:35 PM |

Marriage equality appears to be safe from repeal in Iowa as Democrats maintained a majority in the state Senate on Tuesday.

yes retention wiggins.jpgThe Democratic majority in the Senate, which stands at 26 to 23 Republicans, likely means that attempts by conservatives in the state to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage will be unsuccessful for at least another two years.

Iowa has recognized same-sex couples’ right to marry since April 2009 when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit first brought against the state by six same-sex couples in 2005.

One of the seven judges who ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiffs was Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, who successfully defeated a campaign to recall him from the bench.

According to the Des Moines Register, Wiggins won 54 percent of the vote with 83 percent of Iowa's precincts reporting.

The National Organization for Marriage had sought to recall Wiggins from the bench, much as they had the other justices. After a $600,000 campaign to unseat them, three of the judges were recalled in 2010. The remaing three who ruled in favor of marriage equality will face their retention votes in 2016.

Wiggins's successful defeat of efforts to unseat him was just one of several Election Day failures by NOM. 

According to the Human Rights Campaign, NOM and Iowans for Freedom spent more that $465,000 in their efforts to unseat Wiggins. HRC contributed $145,000 to the retention campaign

HRC President Chad Griffin called the successful campaign waged by Wiggins as a testament to the value of an independent judiciary.

"Iowans have made a strong statement for judicial independence and refused to let politics get in the way of judges doing their duty to uphold the law," Griffin said in a statement.  "Right-wing groups trying to exact political retribution on judges should learn their lesson."

[Photo: Campaign ad from Vote YES on Retention (Courtesy of]

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