Last night, the Iowa Independent and Simpson College hosted a forum to discuss the right-wing effort to remove three state Supreme Court justices because of the court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage earlier this year.
Iowa for Freedom chairman Bob Vander Plaats was among the participants and dominated much of the conversation until, as the Iowa Independent reports, issues came up that he didn’t want to address:
At two times during the debate, Vander Plaats seemed to be at a loss of words and side-stepped questions from his fellow panelists. When the issue of Iowa for Freedom’s funding came up, he refused to answer McCormick’s question of where his organization’s funds come from. The Mississippi-based American Family Association contributes the overwhelming majority of funding for Iowa for Freedom, and New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for TV ads attacking the judges.
The second moment was when the panelists discussed the equal protection clause in both the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. For much of the debate, Vander Plaats dismissed the clause, using examples of property or gun rights to object to the theory. However, McCormick brought up Brown v. Board of Education as a paramount case that the clause was used. Contrary to Vander Plaats position that courts should not use the clause, he said the use of the equal protection clause is appropriate for civil rights cases including Varnum. Allbee added the social criticism of the Brown case sounds eerily similar to that which is used against the Varnum ruling.
But one issue that Vander Plaats was more than willing to address was the “slippery slope” that the court’s ruling would lead to incest and the end of private property:
In their own opinion they discriminated against people who want to be polygamous. They discriminate against people who want to be bisexual – one man, one woman. They discriminate, in their own opinion, against someone who wants to marry their own child.
Now we’d say there’s laws on the books that say you can’t do that – well, there’s laws on the books that said you can’t marry same-sex couples; they didn’t care about that either. So why stop there? You’re putting discrimination in your own opinion.
Where I sense a slippery slope is this, and my father in law would agree with me. My father in law owns way more land than I do and I believe in the right to private property. But under the equal protection provision, why can’t I have some of his land?
I have friends who home-school their children, who send their kids to private school – I send my kids to public school. Why wouldn’t I argue that’s a violation of equal protection – they all should send them to public school.
If a court can make that ruling for you, it’ll determine your private property. I mean if they’ll do this for marriage, they won’t even blink an eye for private property, or Second Amendment, or any other issue at stake. This is why this is such a critical, critical election and why we have people all over the state agreeing with us, not because of the marriage issue, but because if you allow a court to be activist in nature, your freedoms are gone.