Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously to allow same sex marriage in Iowa. This year, Iowans will vote on whether to keep or boot three of the seven justices who decided that case -- and the campaign has attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars from national anti-gay groups.
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In Iowa, judges are appointed, not elected. But at the end of every judge's term, he or she goes up for "retention," meaning the populace votes whether to keep them around or throw them out.
The National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council have seized on the chance to "fire" three of the justices, including Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and are spending money -- more than $700,000 so far -- asking people to vote against retention. The campaign has also drawn cash from those who support gay marriage, and the justices themselves; the overwhelming majority of independent expenditures in the state, in fact, have been directed at the judicial retention race.