Defending the family

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Iowa Governor Branstad won't ask Supreme Court nominees about same-sex marriage

DES MOINES - Gov. Terry Branstad is planning an hour-long interview with each of the nine nominees for three seats on the Iowa Supreme Court, but said he doesn't intend to ask them about the case that created those vacancies.

Branstad reiterated his position that Iowans want and should be given an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. However, the fifth-term Republican said it's not his intent to focus on any specific case. That includes Varnum v. Brien, the 2009 Supreme Court decision that struck down the state ban on same-sex marriage. In the wake of that decision, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker were voted out of office in November.

They were the targets of social conservatives who disagreed with the court's unanimous decision to strike down the state ban on gay marriage.

Public Advocate feels Governor Branstad may fuel the continued campaign for removal of additional judges, including the ones he puts on the court. Removing judges by referendum might get to be a regular affair in Iowa.