More angling over gay marriage ruling

A state senator is urging county recorders to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday.  That's the day the recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling which legalized gay marriage in Iowa goes into effect. According to the state's attorney general. county recorders are required to abide by the ruling and those who refuse to do so can be removed from office.

The chief statehouse lobbyist for the Iowa Christian Alliance also weighed in today.  Read his open letter to one of the Iowa Supreme Court justices below (notice he addresses the letter "Dear David" and in the closing line calls Justice David Wiggins "only a lawyer, in a black robe.").

Des Moines, IA (April 21, 2009) – Norm Pawlewski, Lobbyist for Iowa Christian Alliance, issued the following open letter today to Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

An open letter to Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins

Dear David,

            A few weeks ago, during a chance meeting at the Capitol, you accused me of hatred toward Supreme Court Justices.  When I said I didn’t hate Supreme Court Justices, you asked, “Then why are you so critical of the Court?”  I told you that “making law” from the bench, as opposed to interpreting it, was wrong.  You denied that your Court made law and cited something from a New York State case which, not being a lawyer, I didn’t comprehend.  This, of course, was before the Court issued its opinion in Varnum and the appeal by attorney Gary Dickey for his client, Scott Goosmann.

            In the Varnum case, your opinion, which meandered for sixty-nine pages, and concluded that you, every one of you, “are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective.  The Legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution.” The convolution of your thinking boggles the mind.  You changed a law without the authority to do so; but in this case you didn’t blatantly admit it as you did in the Goosmann matter.

            In an April 18, 2009 Register article on page 2B, the Court is quoted:  “Our ruling in Heemstra clearly involved a change in law (underlining mine) and not a mere clarification.”  Here you admit you breached Article III. Of the Distribution of Powers.  I’m just a citizen; so please explain to me where you get the power to change law.  Sorry, I forgot, you don’t change law.  Or do you?  I’m confused.  That’s probably because I’m confused by my religious beliefs which you protected in the Varnum decision.  Or did you?  It’s that confusion thing again.  I have difficulty understanding why you “Supremes” raised the religion question when it was not raised in the law suit that the District Court Judge heard or in the arguments before your Court.  Or were they?  I’m confused again.  Please enlighten me.  

            Constitutional scholars across the country have critiqued your “opinion” and declared it a clear usurpation of legislative branch powers.  The only favorable opinions of your opinion come from gay activists and proponents of “judicial activism.”

          Over two years ago, I happened on a gay advocate Web site that published a state by state evaluation of State Supreme Court Justices.  Would you be interested in how Iowa’s Court fared?  According to them, Justices Appel, Hecht and Wiggins were graded A+ (extremely gay friendly).  Justices Ternus, Cady, Larson and Streit got a B (pro-gay).  Former Justice Carter got a C (average) and former Chief Justice Lavorato got an A+ (extremely gay friendly).  I knew what your decision was going to be before you got the case.

            David, while the fact that not one of the justices on your Court believes that “the institution of marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” does not evoke, on my part, hatred for your Court, it does engender a deep sadness and a profound distrust. 

            It may be of value for you to remember how you got to where you are and admit that you have a human frailty that can sometimes lead to promoting an agenda that may not be in the best interests of Iowa’s people.  You are, after all, only a lawyer, in a black robe.  


Norm Pawlewski

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. No law was made. The constitution IS the law. You can’t make a law that violates the constitution. Our highest ranking constitutional scholars unanimously agreed that specifically targeted gays/lesbians for liberty restrictions in Iowa goes against the highest law, therefor the lower law is void.
    This isn’t a hard concept to grasp… at least I thought it wasn’t.

  2. Norm,
    May I ask, do you hate gay people? Because unless you do, I don’t understand the reason you would be so upset by the checks and balances system.
    The court has every right to rule when a law is deemed unconstitutional.
    Why are you hiding your contempt for gay people behind anger directed at a judge?
    If you don’t believe that tax-paying gay and lesbian Americans are, or should be treated as equals, then come out and say it.
    That really is the issue here…isn’t it?