IOWA CITY — Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins isn't well known outside the legal community of his state, but whether he should keep his job has become one of the most fiercely contested judicial issues on the Nov. 6 ballot because of what he symbolizes in the debate over gay marriage.
Wiggins and six colleagues ruled in 2009 that Iowa's law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional, making it the third state to recognize same-sex unions. The decision outraged conservatives, who mounted a campaign a year later to defeat three justices.
Wiggins' future is sparking an even bigger battle as liberals and lawyers shocked by 2010 fight back. The race is seen as a barometer of the changing attitudes toward gay marriage and a message for judges who might take up similar cases.