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The best of the worst: 24 hours of NOM “Judge Bus” lowlights in the heartland

NOM Exposed NOM Tour Tracker-Iowa Right-wing

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

It was such a crazy day on the bigotry news front — from Clint McCance to that Texas NBC station — that we delayed our NOM “Judge Bus” tour roundup until tonight.

Enjoy these lowlights from the heartland…


As the weather gets colder, it seems as if each “Judge Bus” whistle stop gets a little bit shorter. Yesterday in Carroll, we stayed 15 minutes after NOM’s Judge Bus left to interview NOM supporters causing us to miss the apparently brief stop in Fort Dodge where Rick Santorum spoke to a small gathering.

After a two-hour drive to Mason City, the Judge Bus arrived 10 minutes late to its scheduled stop at Central Park and stayed on the ground for approximately eight minutes before repacking the sound-equipment and getting back in the bus. I’m not even sure that they turned off their engine.

Connie Mackey, a Judge Bus regular and President of FRC Action –- a project of the Family Research Council — quickly introduced Iowa State Senator Merlin Bartz, who spoke briefly to the crowd about the Iowa court’s “infringement of civil liberties” leading the audience to repeat the phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” several times throughout the speech. It does not appear that anyone picked up on the irony of the statement despite Bartz’s repetitiveness.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #4

A crowd of 45 NOM supporters, various media outlets and a small group of silent counter-protestors stood waiting in the cold for the brief encounter. Two small billboards boasting the equation of “ring = man plus woman” lined the streets in an apparent attempt to introduce some form of New Math, which obviously doesn’t hold up under algebraic scrutiny. By this failed logic, ring minus man equals woman, but I digress.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #2

There was no sign of Rick Santorum -– who joined the tour for an earlier stop in Fort Dodge -– or Steve King. Four NOM supporters who were expecting Santorum and King’s presence approached tour organizers at the conclusion of the event to find out why the two were not there and were told that they had other engagements and that they would be a various whistle stops throughout the week, but not all of them.

Approximately 47 equality supporters organized by One Iowa and the Homegrown Justice Tour held a counter-rally 30 minutes after the event in the lobby of a mall across the street, urging Iowans to vote “yes, yes, yes” to retain the three justices.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Mason City #6

We’re not quite sure why the Judge Bus tour was in such a rush at its final stop of the day in Mason City, we can only speculate but it appears that with Brown no longer present, discipline has gone out the roof. We all know what mice do when the cat’s away.


In Waterloo, local police prohibited Judge Bus organizers from setting up their sound system after they failed to secure a permit; and they certainly needed it because a large contingent of vocal equality supporters were there to meet them.

Fifty-seven equality supporters of the Homegrown Justice tour held a counter-rally arrived early — holding handmade signs and waving rainbow flags — to confront the out-of-state Judge Bus tour, outnumbering the 23 attendees who came to support NOM and its allies. Here are the equality supporters and their colorful signs:

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #1

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #6

Congressman Steve King and Connie Mackie from the Family Research Council addressed the crowd with their usual talking points.


In Marshalltown, the Judge Bus only had the wind to contend with as King, Bob Vander Plaats (failed Iowa gubernatorial candidate) and one other local state representative addressed a crowd of 36.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Waterloo #4

Judge Bus spokespeople have taken to using a quote from the Iowa court decision referring to “unimagined rights.” So I asked Vander Plaats about this point — about how as a black woman I should feel about rights unimagined by the founders.

I know, I know — that was an unfair question.

Tomorrow morning, look out for Part 2 from Dubuque and Clinton…


  • 1. JonT  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

  • 2. Ann S.  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    We got trouble, my friends,
    Right here in Mason City,
    with a capital T
    and that rhymes with P
    and that stands for Pool!

  • 3. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    The minute your son leaves the house, does he rebuckle his knickerbockers below the knee? is there a nicotine stain on his index finger? a dime novel hidden in the corn crib? is he starting to memorize jokes from "Cap'n Billy's Whiz Bang"?

    Are certain words creeping into his conversation–words like "swell," and "So's your old man!" ? Well if so my friends….

    Oh you got trouble…

  • 4. Ann S.  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Right here in Mason City!

  • 5. Anonygrl  |  October 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Gotta figger out a way to keep the young ones moral after school!

  • 6. Kathleen  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  • 7. Kathleen  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    check the boxes

  • 8. Wine Country Lurker  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Checkin' the box….

  • 9. JonT  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    'So I asked Vander Plaats about this point — about how as a black woman I should feel about rights unimagined by the founders.

    I know, I know — that was an unfair question.

    So… What was his response??? You can't leave me hanging like that! 🙂

  • 10. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Don't think it was an unfair question at all. If we still lived the with same rights given when the founding fathers were alive, slavery would be alive and well, women would still be their husband[s property, interracial marriage would be illegal, women would not have the right to vote. Nope not an unfair question. I too want to know how he answered it.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 11. Rev. Will Fisher  |  October 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Yes!!! Great ? Arisha!!

  • 12. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I will just be so glad when these humanoids go back under the rocks they crawled ouit from to participate in this farce.

  • 13. Ronnie  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    “justice delayed is justice denied”

    Are these people fraking morons?…that is a freedom to be slogan not a freedom to control other people & demand that they live their lives how you want them too slogan….every last homophobic neanderthal is completely & utterly dumber then a rock submerged in a glass of water….let us share some quotes from the man who said quote originally….

    “Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.”

    “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race”

    Seriously National Organization for Misinformation/Murder/Malevolence/Maliciousness, Family Restriction/Ruination Council, & Iowa State Senator Merlin Bartz (BTW can your name be any more annoying & pretentious…what in the name of warcraft were your parents thinking when they named you?)…get a fraking education & do some research before you open your benighted mouths…….& to those uneducated dipshites that repeated it as if they actually knew what the frak they were chanting…all I have to say about all you have to say is……well let me offer a video example…..<3….Ronnie:

  • 14. Ronnie  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    P.S. If the anti-gay people out (& I know you're watching this blog….HI LOUIS!!!!) there didn't catch it & it went right over your heads because you really are that dense…I am calling you all sheep…baaa…baaaa….<3…Ronnie

  • 15. Rhie  |  October 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm


  • 16. Michael  |  October 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    “justice delayed is justice denied” Which is precisely what law-abiding, taxpaying, gay Americans are experiencing with DOMA, DADT and Prop. 8. Try to stay warm, Arisha!

  • 17. Sagesse  |  October 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Someday we'll understand what the point of these road trips is… sigh.

  • 18. StraightForEquality  |  October 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Hmmm, “unimagined rights.” If something that is imagined is unreal, then does that mean that something unimagined is reality?

  • 19. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 27, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for report Arisha!

    side note: I started watching 2004 documentary "Tying the Knot" last night on Netfilx……at 08:09 up pops Brian Brown "Family Institute of Conn." (Conn as in CON ? hmmm) talking about how children are best with one man and one woman and therefore "traditional marriage" is in the best interest for all of society (I sure have the urge to punch him! grrrrrrrrr)

    Perfect Halloween/Scary Movie…covers implementation of DOMA, Hawaii discrimination…and middle America types like we've seen on this Iowan tour. Timely documentary that I watch with ENTIRELY different eyes than I would have in 2004.

  • 20. StraightForEquality  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Thanks for the tip. I'll watch it.

  • 21. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:39 am

    thanks for being an Ally! WOOT!

  • 22. StraightForEquality  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Thanks, Gregory. How could I not be. I believe in justice and equality.

  • 23. Joe  |  October 27, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Actually, it's ring divided by man equals woman.

  • 24. celdd  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Buzz!. Not. Woman would have to be multiplied by man in the equation for your solution to be right.

    Subtracting man on both sides of the equal sign is correct algebra.

  • 25. Anonygrl  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:51 am

    But really, his math makes as much sense as the original equation does.

    Anybody notice that a ring looks a lot like a zero? So:


    I'm just saying… however you do this math, it is not very good.

  • 26. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:53 am


  • 27. StraightForEquality  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:45 am

    man = – woman
    woman = – man

  • 28. AndrewPDX  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:42 am

    I particularly enjoyed the report where NOM failed to get a permit to set up their sound equipment and equality supporters (as usual) outnumbered NOM's sheeple.

    NOM, have you finally faced your Waterloo? {cue Abba music}

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 29. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:43 am

    For people who claim to be all about justice 'n' that, you'd think they'd be a bit more diligent with getting the permits.

  • 30. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:43 am

    They have their god's permission, Ann.

  • 31. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Whatever happened to rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's and all?

  • 32. Kate  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Their god changed his mind — it doesn't apply to them.

  • 33. Sagesse  |  October 28, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Eisenberg's amicus brief is getting some attention, probably because it's different, and because everyone knows the CA initiative process is dysfunctional.

    Attorney files amicus brief in Prop. 8 case challenging initiative process

  • 34. MJFargo  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Thanks for point to this brief, Sagesse. I suspect that his entire point (given the annual budget crises) will get a thorough airing.

    Can the 9th consider this issue at appeal of Judge Walker's decision or is it outside the scope?

    It raises another concern: Have any of the briefs addressed the issue of standing? Or is that for the court alone to decide?

  • 35. Anonygrl  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Many of the appellants amicus briefs have addressed standing. None terribly well. I imagine that is the first issue that will be addressed during oral arguments on Dec. 6th.

  • 36. MJFargo  |  October 28, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Beyond citing the Arizona case that the DI's were instructed to address, anything more substantial? Since the AZ case was moot at the time of the decision, it sounds like there's room to maneuver. Any speculation on whether or not we'll get beyond the issue of standing since–it seemed–it was clear that the DI's don't have Title III standing?

  • 37. Kathleen  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Equality California filed a brief specific to the Imperial County case, which I imagine is all about standing. But I haven't read it, so don't know for sure.

    The other story the The Recorder picked up on was the one about the DMV employee sending a piece of hate mail to a transgender woman, after the woman came into the DMV to change her legal name. The Transgender Law Center is investigating.

  • 38. Ann S.  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Firing is too good for the employee who did that. If only we could send her to a purgatory where she is forced to wait in endless DMV lines, deal with surly DMV employees, and keeps being sent by said surly employees to wait in yet other lines.

  • 39. Kathleen  |  October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I agree. Seems to me there must be a law against an employee using the information on record at the DMV to make personal contact. I'm hoping she not only gets fired and sued, but also gets charged with a crime.

    This DMV employee is welcome to stand on the street corner and spout her transphobic crap. As hideous as it is, there's that First Amendment protection. But she doesn't get to do it as a government employee.

    My immediate worry was for the safety of the woman who received the letter. The fact that the DMV employee sent this letter says to me that the employee is out of touch with, or at least doesn't respect, boundaries we place in our society. So, what other line is she willing to cross?

  • 40. Part 2, Tony Perkins edit&hellip  |  October 28, 2010 at 8:08 am

    […] be fun following NOM’s circus around for the third time in four months. If you missed Part One of the “best of the worst,” read all about it. It doesn’t get much better in Part Two. Apparently, Tony Perkins is no Brian Brown. Who […]

  • 41. Randy Crawford of Iowa Ci&hellip  |  January 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    […] “The best of the worst: 24 hours of NOM ‘Judge Bus’ lowlights in the heartland,” Prop 8 Trial Tracker, October 27, 2010 […]

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