Dueling Bus Tours On Collision Course With Iowa’s Last Surviving Gay Marriage Judge

Opposing campaigns roll for and against jurist who ruled for marriage equality.

An image of the No Wiggins bus from The Family Leader materials. (Image: The Family Leader)

Sep 26, 2012· 2 MIN READ

It’s 2009: Gay marriage is unanimously ruled legal in Iowa by a panel of state supreme court judges. Balloons and party favors for gay marriage supporters.

But jump ahead to today, and three of those four judges have been removed from the bench in “judicial retention elections” in which people can literally vote the jurists out of the supreme court.

Now, in a (kinda vindictive?) move to oust the fourth judge, David Wiggins, opponents of the decision have launched that oh-so-election-season bid to boot the man: A bus tour.

MORE: Maryland Senate Okays Gay Marriage

Dubbed literally the No Wiggins bus (because “No Wiggins” is written in giant letters on the side panels) the tour is being joined at different spots by conservative luminaries such as former senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

But as if a bus tour to vote out a supreme court justice for a ruling weren’t oddly captivating enough, a second bus tour to counter the first has actually now taken to the road too.

This bus (well… maybe it’s a truck, really?) is literally following the same path as the No Wiggins bus to counter-demonstrate, and in some places practically overlapping them at events, according to a local ABC affiliate.

“We were dreading the possibility that the court would overstep its bounds,” she says. And, gasp, it happened.

The second group, backed by the Iowa State Bar Association, is on what is called the “Yes Iowa Judges” tour. It claims the No Wiggins people are, in part, acting as puppets for out-of-state interests. Speaker and Iowa attorney Dan Moore told ABC that ousting the judges won’t change the law, by the way.

“Only the citizens and judges can do that,” he said.

Which makes the No Wiggins bus… just kind of retaliatory?

Vengeance is the sense you get from watching videos of the anti-Wiggins bus backers, Iowa for Freedom, spoken for by Bob Vander Plaats, the paragon (that’s ironic) of logic and tolerance whose Web site once compared being male and gay to the dangers of second-hand smoke.

In fact, a whole lot of ultra-evangelical weirdness comes from this Bob Vander Plaats guy—see a highlight reel of his comments here (and GLAAD doesn’t think that highly of him, either).

Vander Plaats’s organization, the Family Leader, also once tried to circulate a “Marriage Vow” among members of Congress in which lawmakers pledged to do stuff like refrain from cheating on their spouses, ban porn, fight Sharia law and all kinds of other fun stuff.

“If the Iowa Supreme Court will do this to marriage, every one of our freedoms, including gun rights and private property, is in danger of being usurped by activist judges who are unelected officials,” the Family Leader’s Web site says on the Iowa gay marriage matter.

If you want to catch the bus in person, you can head to NoWiggins.com, where you can also see the Family Leader’s pearl-bedecked co-chair, Tamara Scott, talk about the day of “infamy” when the ruling came down.

“We were dreading the possibility that the court would overstep its bounds,” she says. And, gasp, it happened.

“This is nothing personal against Justice Wiggins, understand,” Scott told the Des Moines Register this week. “He’s just number four in a line of seven who committed a grievance against the people.”

Nothing personal, Bob. Just your terrible grievance against “the people.”

Well… some of the straight evangelist Christian people, really. Not the gay ones who can now married and enjoy freedoms the state supreme court felt were covered under equal protection law.

Maybe they’re not real Iowans or something? Tamara?