Watch: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Commits Herself to Nationwide Marriage Equality on ‘The View’

Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) appeared on The View today and reiterated her commitment to passing marriage equality in New York and across the country.

Said Gillibrand: "I also want to work on marriage equality. I want to make sure that everyone in this country can be married to the people they love."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

(via good as you)



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The nationwide ramifications of losing three judges in Iowa, and crazy Maggie weighs in

Steve Silberman writes about the nationwide ramifications of NOM’s successful effort to remove three judges in Iowa who ruled in favor of marriage equality. You’ll note that someone who sure seems to be the real Maggie Gallagher weighed into Steve’s comment section.

Never mind that the removal of the judges threatens to impede the operation of the judiciary in Iowa, denying justice not only to the minority targeted by NOM’s mystery donors, but to anyone else in the state court system. Never mind that the state’s governor, Chet Culver — also defeated by a Republican on Tuesday — is unlikely to fill those vacancies on the bench before his term ends in January, further tampering with the due process of law in the state. Never mind that John Adams, one of the founding fathers who people like Gingrich and Sarah Palin like to invoke at any opportunity, believed that a judiciary protected from the political storms that rage around the contentious issues of the day is one of the foundations of a stable democracy:

The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that. The judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.

The sweeping ramifications of NOM’s success in Iowa this week are not lost on legal authorities. “What is so disturbing about this is that it really might cause judges in the future to be less willing to protect minorities out of fear that they might be voted out of office,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, told the New York Times. “Something like this really does chill other judges.”

You’ll note, via the link above, that “Maggie” says that John Adams, who alive from 1735-1826, probably agreed with her about marriage equality. Putting aside the fact that Maggie Gallagher takes pride in having a point of view that was popular in the late 1700s, I wonder if John Adams agrees with Maggie about slavery too (while Adams refused to own slaves, he did oppose emancipation – how are you on emancipation Maggie?)




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Election Losses of Iowa Justices Hurt Marriage Equality Efforts Nationwide

Last year the seven justices of the Iowa Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a state law that denied same sex marriage. Yesterday, three of those justices were voted out of office. The other four weren’t up for reelection.

Why the Iowa Justices Lost

Their election losses were the culmination of a campaign by out-of-state special interest groups to punish the justices for effectively making gay marriage legal in the state. Grant Shulte of the Des Moines Register reported today:

The ouster effort grew out of the April 2009 gay marriage ruling that stunned the nation, outraged social conservatives and turned Iowa into the first Midwestern state to sanction same-sex marriage. . .

Groups that wanted the justices ousted poured more than 0,000 into their effort, with heavy support from out-of-state conservative and religious groups. Campaigns that supported the justices and the current state court system spent more than 0,000.

The success of the campaign against the three justices is particularly striking considering the justices opponents: nobody. All the justices had to due was get a simple majority to vote to retain them in office, something no justice had failed to do in Iowa since that state adopted their judicial election system in 1962.

Why the Election Losses Matter

The election losses makes it less likely that elected justices in other states will declare anti-gay-marriage laws unconstitutional in their own jurisdictions.

Unlike the justices for U.S. Supreme Court, justices for 36 state supreme courts, including Iowa, are elected, not appointed. When these justices next decide gay marriage issues, they might now think twice before ruling in favor of gay marriage. The ability for out-of-state groups to fund campaigns against them could mean placing their job at risk if they issue an opinion supporting gay marriage.

In fact, that’s exactly what the opposition group set out to do, according to Vander Plaats, the group’s leader. Three months ago he said:

The ultimate goal is, hopefully, by voting these three justices off of the court on November 2, that we’ll send a message not only across Iowa but hopefully across the country about what was our founders’ intent about the separation of powers.

Plaats did send a message, but not that one. Instead, the message across the country was about what special interest groups will do to justices who vote against gay marriage bans.

[Cross-posted at the Gay Law Report, where I discuss LGBT laws and related news.]

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