Lost amidst the tidal wave of election news yesterday was a highly unusual — yet very important — election in Iowa. Readers may remember that last year the Iowa Supreme Court essentially invented a right to same-sex marriage under the state constitution. The court vote was unanimous, 7-0 and was hailed by the Left as an example of their cultural momentum. This was Iowa, after all, not one of those liberal coastal states like Massachusetts.
Yesterday, Iowa voters got their first chance to express their opinion about the state supreme court’s judicial activism, and they were not pleased. Iowa puts judges to a “retention vote,” where voters simply vote yes or no. Judges typically sail through those votes, winning huge majorities.
But not yesterday. Yesterday, three of the seven Iowa justices were up for retention, and all three lost. To describe this as a stinging rebuke to judicial activism would be an understatement. The four remaining justices — who will face their own retention votes in upcoming elections — are now on notice that their judicial careers may be shorter than they’d hoped.
I don’t have my head in the sand. I see the poll data indicating that young people increasingly support same-sex marriage, but I also believe that much of that support is soft — dependent on the unique peer pressures and ideological environment on college campuses. Once students emerge into the “real world” will they be so willing to further experiment with an institution already so damaged by no-fault divorce and cohabitation? We shall see.
But until then, can we please hold off on the “inevitable” talk until same-sex marriage can actually win elections?