Gay marriage throw down comes to Ottumwa park

Bus rally against Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins

The culture war came to Ottumwa on Monday.

Dueling rallies were held in Greater Ottumwa Park Monday afternoon. Conservative activists rallied to have Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins removed from the bench. While the Iowa Bar Association rallied in support of Wiggins.

The rallies were part of a statewide campaign.

The campaigns for and against Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins launched the competing bus tours at the state Capitol Monday morning.

Social conservatives seeking to oust Wiggins in a November retention vote were led Monday morning by former candidate for governor Bob Vander Platts and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. They gathered in front of the Capitol by two buses with "No Wiggins" logos.

Once that event ended, another backed by the Iowa State Bar began.

Speakers included Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's niece, Christine Branstad, an attorney. They called for retaining Wiggins, who angered social conservatives when he joined in a unanimous 2009 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa.

Wiggins supporters say Vander Plaats claims his effort is a grassroots movement, but it's funded by out-of-state groups opposed to gay marriage.

The message from both sides hadn't changed much by the time the buses hit Ottumwa.

About one hundred Ottumwans listened as Rick Santorum argued that Wiggins and the other members of the Supreme Court had exceeded their constitutional authority and deserved to lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, Branstad told a much smaller group, that conservative activists were pushing money and politics where they weren't wanted and didn't belong.