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It’s over: Fear and loathing on the NOM “Judge Bus” Tour finally comes to an end

NOM Exposed NOM Tour Tracker-Iowa Right-wing

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

The fear and loathing on the NOM “Judge Bus” Tour has finally come to an end. Well, the tour ended, but not the fear and loathing, of course.

In Davenport, the Judge Bus pulled into Lafayette Park. Steve King and Tony Perkins addressed the audience of 24, several of whom waved checkered flags to signify the last leg of the tour. Twenty-seven equality supporters waved handmade signs, chanted and sang throughout the program before attending their own rally.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Davenport #1

“There wasn’t many of us here, but God was here…and [we were] also in the innumerable company of angels who we cannot see physically,” said one NOM supporter from Illinois.

Next, the Judge Bus pulled into a parking lot just outside of the Port of Burlington Visitor Center and was greeted by it’s largest crowd of the tour, a group of 72 attendees listened to King and Perkins make their usual comments.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Burlington #2

At the end of the rally, a local unidentified man was given the microphone and felt compelled to point out the NOM Tour Trackers to the crowd and warned attendees from speaking to us. He kept referring to us as “Wonk Room,” our friends at Think Progress, but we appreciated the gesture nonetheless.

I waved.

Their largest rally was followed by their smallest.

Chuck Hurley, Steve King, Bob Vander Plaats and Tony Perkins met 4 people (and a rather large dog) in a park in Ottumwa.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Ottumwa #1

In Pella, at the next whistlestop, we spoke to a teenager who was one of 23 attendees agreed to go on camera to give us the youth perspective. She too was deeply concerned about activist judges, but was unable to name a single decision other than the same-sex marriage decision that she disagreed with.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Pella #2

For the final stop of the tour, the Judge Bus returned to the city it started in Des Moines, hosting a rally in front of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Sixty-five NOM supporters joined Vander Plaats, Perkins and Tamara Scott from Concerned Women for America.

Perkins again focused on unimagined rights language from the decision.
“It’s fine to have Goofy and Dumbo at Disneyland, but not on the bench,” he said to applause.

Iowa NOM Tour Tracker- Des Moines (again) #3

Scott then offered one of my favorite moments from the tour. She was leading the crowd through a call and response exercise in which she’d ask a question to which the audience was supposed to respond “No.”

“Are you anti like the media makes you out to be?”

“No,” the audience screamed with zero sense of irony.

It was the only time I laughed out loud during the speeches. I don’t know, maybe you had to be there.

As a final cherry on top of this tour, check out this Judge Bus compilation of interviews, featuring the always entertaining Bob Vander Plaats at the beginning — and a shout-out to all of us at “Wonk Room,” er, Courage’s NOM Tour Tracker:



  • 1. Alan E.  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:33 am

    hehe "God Made Adam & Steve Too"

  • 2. Ann S.  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:09 am


  • 3. JonT  |  October 29, 2010 at 9:59 am

  • 4. Ronnie  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

    "(and a rather large dog) "

    Was that large dog there to intimidate a scare Equality supporters?…….HI LOUIS!!!!!!…… ; )


  • 5. Buffy  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Is it me or are the "arguments" raised by the Iowa bigots less intelligent than the ones put forth by the CA bigots? Is it the cold? The corn ethanol?

  • 6. Buffy  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Of course that's not to suggest the "arguments" put forth by the CA bigots were in any way intelligent…

  • 7. Kate  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:49 am

    The caveman guy Arisha interviewed is holding forth in the comments section after the newspaper article he was in. I guess he's having his 15 mins.of fame and believing every bit of it.

  • 8. Kate  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Oh god, now he's posting under the YouTube video, too!!!! You guys simply must read what else he has to say in both these areas. The guy is unbelievable. (And to think that his vote counts the same as each vote from a person with an actual brain…..)

  • 9. Rev. Will Fisher  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Well done arisha!

  • 10. Jim  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Fortunately, god and angels don't vote.

  • 11. Ann S.  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

    That's right, we have to do it for them.

  • 12. Kate  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

    But apparently they still get to count as attendees to boost NOM's numbers. (As do the pre-born, no doubt.)

  • 13. Bennett  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Thats Funny! God doesn't get to vote. I am sure they would have a knee jerk reaction and get all in a huff, and even pass it along that "they" EVEN said that God didn't get to vote. And then later on, when their sense of reason finally gets the better of them, that small still voice (the same one that tells all those things to Pat Robertson???) creeps into their consciousness, and lets them know that, yes, in fact, God really doesn't get to vote.

  • 14. Bennett  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

    But of course, God is omnipotent, so if he really really really wanted to vote, He could.

    Oh I so going to hell. Hopefully capitalizing the "H" in "He" will tip the scales back in my favor.

  • 15. Kate  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Nope, Bennett, 'cuz you missed capitalizing it the first time. So it's a wash. Off to hell.

  • 16. Bob  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Truth is, God doesn't want to vote, he created the original idea of separation of Church and State, voting is for the secular world…..

    And of course Bennett is forgiven, that's what God does, he loves unconditionally,

    And I like Ann's message that we are here to represent the divine nature of all things, and so it is up to us to vote vote vote, for the angels and god. let unconditional love guide us when we cast our vote vote vote vote

  • 17. Cat  |  October 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

    If God didn't like these judges, they would not have been appointed in the first place. When you're omnipotent that should be a fairly easy achievement…

    I fabricated the above statement (just like Prop.8 proponents fabricate statements: stringing words together that support your argument and sound authoritative), and I don't know if it's true. I hope the statement is true, if there is a God. I fear religious people who use their belief as a substitute for logic, rather than for love, hope and inspiration.

  • 18. JonT  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    'If God didn’t like these judges, they would not have been appointed in the first place. When you’re omnipotent that should be a fairly easy achievement…'


    I think that if there was a god, and he/she/it was opposed to my being gay, it could let me know that without needing to rely on other people to tell me so.

    This is the main reason why I reject religion — at least as imposed and described by man.

  • 19. Rhie  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

    ooooh so THAT's why these people report way more people than actually show up on their side. They are counting the "unseen angels!"

  • 20. nightshayde  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:47 am

    I always figured their count was double reality because each NOMbie figures he/she is there with Jesus on his/her side… and each has his/her own personal Jesus.

    (wasn't that a Depeche Mode song?)

  • 21. Kate  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:52 am

    And a guardian angel for each.

  • 22. Sagesse  |  October 29, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Thank you Arisha and crew. You should get hazard pay for hanging around all that toxic gas.

  • 23. AndrewPDX  |  October 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

    OMG! Not sure if you've heard, but the Equality California office in Santa Ana found a noose on their front door yesterday (source:

    And what did the police have to say about it? "Sometimes you have to live with being a victim."

    EXCUSE ME??!?!?? Sometimes I have to be a victim? Oh, HAIL no I don't!

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 24. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    That's Orange County for you. If you're not white, straight, and rich it's not a crime.

  • 25. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  October 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    And, if the police found a noose on their front door, would they "sometimes have to live with being a victim?" I think not. No individual or group should have to "sometimes have to live with being victim."

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 26. Lodrelhai  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Sorry if this isn't the place for it, but in the face of things like another NOM-tour wrapping up and what is basically a death threat being brushed over by the police, I thought a more positive story might be appreciated.

    A Georgia pastor has come out as gay, and for once it's NOT because he was caught in a compromising situation. Rather, his wife urged him to drop the lie, and after the recent teen suicides the pastor agreed.

    It would've been so much better, of course, if he hadn't lied in the first place, or if it hadn't taken deaths to make him realize how hurtful the lie was. But it's a step in the right direction, and I admire the man for taking it.

  • 27. Rhie  |  October 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Maybe it would have been better for him to realize and understand who he was earlier. I don't know; I don't judge the personal decisions of people unless they make a living railing against those personal decisions. Has this pastor?

    The important thing is here that he did ultimately come to terms with being gay. It took real courage for his wife – his WIFE – to say that he could accept who he was. It took just as much courage for him to say he was, that it is ok – especially in the buckle of the Bible Belt.

    Now, we have a pastor and his wife both saying that it is ok to be gay. It is ok not to get married to the opposite sex if you don't feel love for them just to do it, just for appearance. It's incredible.

  • 28. joe  |  November 1, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Are there any polls indicating how the vote will go tomorrow for these judges?

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