NOM Exposed is a campaign-style operation that tracks and challenges the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage as it tries to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country.

NOM, Brian Brown, Rick Santorum, and Tony Perkins invade Iowa for “Judge Bus Tour” — Courage there t

October 25, 2010



NOM’s “Judge Bus” tour kicked off in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning. And Courage sent Arisha on the road to cover them over the next four days as NOM, Brian Brown, Tony Perkins, Rick Santorum and Iowa Congressman Steve King spread their fringe message in the heartland, attempting to tell Iowans how to discriminate against loving families. The tour kicked off this morning and we’ll be posting updates throughout the day. (Later, we’ll also be posting Prop 8 case amicus briefs — or “friend of the court” briefs — filed today in support of the AFER arguments before today’s 9th Circuit Court deadline). Stay tuned! — Eden

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

The National Organization for Marriage’s Iowa Judge Bus Tour hasn’t even kicked-off yet and already it feels markedly different than the Courage Campaign NOM Tour Trackers’ recent encounter with the often-times hostile Vota Tus Valores Tour in California sponsored by NOM a few weeks ago.

NOM’s “Tus Valores” tour organized by the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles to support Carly Fiorina’s California Senate campaign — which Brian Brown was not present for – got so intense at points that I found myself secretly longing for Brown’s politically-polished professionalism. 

During a month where stories of gay bullying and teen-suicide dominated the national media narrative, Tus Valores organizers didn’t even bat an eyelash when a co-worker of Alfonso Aguilar physically assaulted Courage Campaign’s gay videographer Anthony Ash.

Hell, I even missed NOM’s One Man, One Woman Summer tour organizer Louis Marinelli after all that (even though he still won’t accept my facebook friend request).

I don’t expect the same level of aggression here in Iowa – at least not from Brian.  Yesterday, I was surprised when I ran into Brown just outside of the baggage claim at the Des Moines Airport.

He walked towards me and greeted me with a hug.
“Are you here to follow us?”

“Yep,” I replied with a smile.

Oh, what a difference 1,700 miles makes, but I digress.

It’s  nice to be in America’s Heartland.  Nonetheless, the question remains, why are we all here?

Although it may come as a surprise to many Iowans, for NOM, the Judge Bus Tour really has nothing at all to do with the Hawkeye State.  The Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in favor of same-sex marriage is now precedent in the jurisdiction and, although the race remains incredibly close, the court’s historic unanimous decision would likely remain unaffected by the removal of these three justices.

Rather it appears that the Judge Bus Tour is meant to intimidate – if not bully – judges across the country who may feel compelled to declare discriminatory laws targeting gays and lesbians unconstitutional.

“Many people that have commented on what we’re going through right now, especially with the Proposition 8 case in California, are looking at the Iowa judicial retention election – and even though there are many important elections around the country – they’re actually saying this is the most important election because it will send a clear signal to the [United States] Supreme Court and other judges that they don’t have the right to make up the law out of thin air,” Brown explained during an interview with Wallbuilders Live, a right-wing organization dedicated to “rebuilding our nation’s foundation.”

“Their job is to interpret the law, it is not to be out robed masters and judicial activists imposing their will on the rest of us.  And so if the people of Iowa do what I think they’ll do and stand up and remove these judges, there will be reverberations throughout the country all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”

In a nutshell, NOM is here to send a message.  How will Iowans react to these outsiders meddling in a local election?

We’ll soon find out. 

Today, NOM has “whistle stops” in Des Moines, Winterset, Atlantic, Red Oak, Shenandoah and Council Bluffs.  Their message won’t go unchallenged.  Local organizers, including One Iowa, have put together the Homegrown Justice Tour with plans to meet up with the Judge Bus at several stops throughout the week, including Des Moines and Council Bluffs today.

Get your popcorn ready.  NOM’s scheduled spokespeople include Tony Perkins, Rick Santorum and Iowa Congressman Steve King.

\"\"UPDATE BY EDEN: Jeremy Hooper brings us pics of NOM’s bus:

We’d seen mockup images of the Family Research Council/National Organization For Marriage/ Iowa For Freedom “Judge Bus,” which is set to hit the road for the vindictive purpose of voting out judges who did nothing more than side with the constitution on marriage equality. But we had no clue that the actual thing was going to be such a lovely shade of lavender:

Black and purple = the color of a bruise. Considering the black eye these folks are trying to deliver to American justice, that certainly seems fitting.