Three of the seven Iowa justices that unanimously decided that an Iowa law banning same-sex marriage was in violation of the state's constitution, were presented with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Monday.
Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and justices David Baker and Michael Streit were voted off the bench as a result of their historic decision.
More after the jump.
According to The Huffington Post, conservative groups and anti-same-sex marriage foes spent nearly $1 million to get the justices removed from their court seats. The judges refused to campaign or fundraise out of desire to keep the judiciary out of politics.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Caroline Kennedy (John F. Kennedy’s daughter) said that the justices, “knew when they were writing this decision that it was gonna be a pioneering decision and a landmark decision and would face a lot of popular opposition. They also were following very carefully the Iowa constitution and the rights that it gives to its citizens."
Still, knowing the opposition that they would face—as well as the risk that they may lose their seats on the bench, the justices did what was right.
The judiciary is supposed to be an independent branch that protects the civil rights of all Americans. There’s a growing danger to this vital part of our democracy, especially, Kennedy says, in states and counties “where judges spend growing amounts of money to get elected or fend off electoral challenges sponsored by groups promoting narrow agendas.”
Thankfully, the Iowa justices for able to look beyond the personal cost to themselves and did their best to protect the rights of Iowa's citizens.