When political historians chronicle the moment when American conservatives finally succeeded in draining the word “freedom” of any of its natural meaning, they will cite anti-gay activist Bob Vander Plaats’ speech on Saturday announcing a multi-group effort to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins from office:
“This is about freedom, not just about marriage,” Vander Plaats said in unveiling Iowans for Freedom’s campaign to oust Wiggins during the sold-out Family Leader’s Family Leadership Summit that drew 1,000 activists to the Point of Grace church.
“We see this as a freedom and constitutional issue important to all Iowans. If courts are allowed to redefine the institution of marriage, every one of the liberties we hold dear is in jeopardy.”
Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage pledged his group would provide a match of up to $100,000 to contributions that are made during the next two weeks in the campaign against Wiggins.
Iowans for Freedom and NOM are unlikely to be the only anti-gay groups willing to drop big money in an effort to buy a vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court. In 2010, a similar effort to remove three justices who, like Wiggins, joined an opinion holding that the Iowa Constitution provides gay couples with the same marriage rights as everyone else, spent nearly $800,000. Much of that money came from the American Family Association, a Mississippi-based hate group which has claimed that Adolf Hitler and “virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals” and that marriage equality causes crop failure.