The Forgotten Election: Iowa Judge Who Approved Marriage Equality Faces Tough Race

With all the attention rightly given to congressional races, marriage-equality measures and, oh yeah, the presidential election, its easy to forget a race that in the normal scheme of things wouldn’t get much attention: Today voters in Iowa are deciding whether or not to keep State Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, one of the jurists who legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa in 2009.

Since that ruling, conservative groups like NOM have made a concerted effort to oust all six judges who joined in the unanimous decision—railing against so-called “activist judges,” they already succeeded in showing Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit the door in 2010.

“We won a state championship in 2010. We defeated three judges—we sent them a message on judicial activism and the people holding them accountable,” said anti-equality warrior Bob Vander Plaats. “Now we’ve got to go play the game all over again.”

The race has been positioned by pundits and politicos as benchmark in the marriage-equality issue: If Wiggins is voted out, it might have a chilling effect on other jurists. (State Supreme Court judges must seek election a year after being appointed, and then every eight years after.)

Wiggins, who has sat on the bench since 2003, isn’t happy about the campaign against him, but insists he’d do it all over again.  “I want to keep my job, believe me, but I will not jeopardize the integrity of the Iowa Supreme Court in the process,” he wrote in The Des Moines Register.