In Iowa, homophobia on wheels

In July, I blogged about the Nation Organization for Marriage’s “One Man, One Woman” bus tour. The tour made stops around the country this summer, met by marriage equality supporters and homophobic signs along the way.

Now, NOM has a new bus: The Judge Bus. The title suggests the best reality TV show ever imagined: the nation’s nine most powerful justices drive around the country in a double-decker bus, completing a series of intense intellectual challenges. Every week, Congress votes on which judges will get to stay, and which judges will immediately return to the bus, take off their robes… and go home. Hosted by Mario Lopez and Tyra Banks.

Sadly, the actual Judge Bus way less fun than that. It’s about removing the Iowa Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality last year. Three of the judges in question are at the end of their terms, at which point the people of Iowa can vote on whether or not to keep them on the bench.

According to Talking Points Memo, NOM is the biggest spender in the campaign to remove the judges, and is funding the bus tour, which began yesterday. NOM has put more than $500, 000 into what is so far a $700, 000 campaign. But according to Pam’s House Blend, yesterday’s first bus stop drew over twice as many marriage equality supporters than it did NOM supporters.

TPM also reports that the tour features “stars of the anti-gay movement.” Again, that sounds like it should be entertaining, perhaps involving  performances from Fifty Cent, but instead we get:

NOM president Brian Brown, FRC director Tony Perkins, former senator and likely presidential candidate Rick Santorum (who once compared same-sex relationships to “man on dog”), Rep. Steve King (who once said that same sex marriage would lead to the recognition of incestuous relationships and socialism) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (who once said that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia).

That’s quite a lineup. If you live in Iowa, or if you happen to be passing through the Hawkeye State, check out the Judge Bus’ tour dates and go say hi! If you’re going to see Rick Santorum, make sure you bring your pooch!

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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