Bill to punish judges for gay marriage ruling misguided

Iowa’s judicial branch is not made up of Republicans and Democrats. Our judges interpret the laws based solely on one thing: what is just. Their rulings are not dependent on their own personal beliefs, religious teachings, educational upbringings or family influences. They rule in accordance with the laws set forth by the Iowa Constitution.

When a ruling is unanimous, that indicates how sure we can be, as a state, that our judges are practicing unbiased, nonpartisan work. Regardless of where they come from, they rule in the same way. It reassures us; the law is being upheld fairly.

The 2009 Varnum v. Brien unanimous ruling is no exception — except for the fact that it granted marriage rights to same-sex couples. Now suddenly, Iowa legislators, Tom Shaw and Dwayne Alons, see error in a judicial system that has brought equality for years. Those few Iowa House members are the erroneous ones.

To punish the judges for ruling in a way they disagree with, they have suggested a pay cut. For the four judges still serving (three were ousted during elections with funds from out-of-state) their income would decrease to $25,000 rather than the current $163,000 they make if the bill proposed by the legislators becomes law.

We cannot pay justices different amounts based on which rulings they were involved in, and justices should not be punished for interpreting the law fairly.

This response stems from ignorance and intolerance. Some legislatures (and the people they represent) are so anti-gay that they are proposing to significantly lower the salaries of justices involved in the Varnum v. Brien case. It is sad that while the state has been progressive in allowing same-sex marriage ahead of most other states, there are people willing to take extreme measures to counteract the recent success.  Why is “Who can marry?” an argument and a debate? Marriage, a symbol and act of love has been prevented and judged and rallied against. Something so beautiful rials up so much hatred and despair.

It is absolutely despicable that Iowa legislators think it is a sound idea to greatly decrease the pay of judges for a fair ruling involving same-sex marriage.

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