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Just a small point... but the judge that put the stay in effect was the same unelected judge who made the original ruling. The judge who gave the boys their waiver, that was a different unelected judge. ;)

Posted by Phelix | August 31, 2007 10:43 AM

And the framers of the constitution would never have imagined that women would want the right to vote, either. I guess that's why we have amendments.

Posted by crazycatguy | August 31, 2007 10:56 AM

What really gets me about the CWA is their use of unnecessary quotes around gay.

So why is The Stranger immune from the influence of tobacco ad money but Tim Burgess is damned for profiting from and helping to promote the CWA? Are you in the least responsible for any the cigarettes smoked by the kids you attracted to the tobacco ads with your all ages show listings and sex column?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 11:00 AM

I think it is pretty interesting that Iowa of all places has gay marriage (pending at least), while left coast Washington state doesn't even have civil unions.

What's next? MO?!?!

Posted by Mike in MO | August 31, 2007 11:01 AM

As I mentioned before, I suspect that the Iowa Supreme Court will say that their Constitution doesn't mean anything when it matters, like the Supreme Court (In)justices here in Washington did.

Posted by Original Andrew | August 31, 2007 11:02 AM

Remember, you need to Fight for your Freedoms.

Stand strong and revel in your choice, Iowans - and try not to look down on your gutless Washingtonian friends who don't have the guts to sue under NAFTA for their legal rights.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 11:02 AM

I think the difference is that el Strangero runs ads from anybody. El Strangero doesn't design marketing campaigns for tobacco companies, strategize about pro-smoking messages, help raise money to help the tobacco companies get their pro-smoking message out, and do PR work for tobacco companies.

Posted by EXTC | August 31, 2007 11:04 AM

Um... thanks for pointing that out, E, but please don't call us "El Strangero." Eesh.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 31, 2007 11:05 AM

"Well, they’re Policy Director..." should read "their policy director," but you knew that. I like it when people I agree with politically look smart because they do proper grammar checks, so get on that if you could. I know it's hypocritical, but I'm no English major. I hold journalists to a higher standard than my sorry self in this one way.

Posted by christopher | August 31, 2007 11:07 AM

What terrible typos in they're -- I mean their -- no I mean there! Are you stoned again, Dan?

Posted by Cat in Chicago | August 31, 2007 11:07 AM

Never thought I'd say it, but Yay Iowa!

Posted by Dianna | August 31, 2007 11:08 AM


Case in point, those batshit crazy conspiracy theory one page ads with all of the psuedo-intellectual psycho babble that one guy used to run all the time, which was probably the same person that posts as Ecce Homo or Issur, come to think of it.

I'm happy for Iowa.

Posted by conspiracytheorist | August 31, 2007 11:11 AM

@3: The concept is that a newspaper is a public forum and accepts ads from everyone. Most papers have a specific advertising policy that allows them to refuse a limited number of ads for specific reasons (ads containing libelous statements, for example).

Sorry Burgess fans, the CWA account is a legitimate story and represents strike one by candidate Tim. I don't know if it's enough to make you rethink your support for Burgess, but it certainly calls his beliefs and character into question.

Posted by J.R. | August 31, 2007 11:12 AM

If that's strike one against Burgess, J.R., then it's worth bearing in mind that David Della has racked up a Richie Sexson-style hat trick of strikeouts in his four years on the council.

Dan, you need to wake up to the fact that Burgess supports marriage equality, period. It's inaccurate for you to suggest otherwise. Be a journalist, not a propagandist.

Posted by Trey | August 31, 2007 11:24 AM

Expect Iowa to have a ban on same sex marriages put on the ballot to amend their state constitution.

And since it is Iowa, we know how that will go down.

(Sloggers, stay on TOPIC, The Stranger is a media whore who will let anyone advertise, get over it!)

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 31, 2007 11:25 AM

Is that an actual fact, that The Stranger accepts ads from anybody?

Is it also a fact that Tim Burgess' company did not accept anybody as a client, but rather was kind of picky and sought out the CWA?

Is that the difference?

The teen and young adult audience that The Stranger cultivates certainly looks -- circumstantially -- like you are delivering the kind of content that your richest advertisers demand. Big Tobacco can write their own adds, and make their own strategy (hook 'em young is a strategy that needs no further improvement). What they can't do is attract the kids to their ads. That's where The Stranger comes in.

Yet a simple denial, with no argument or evidence to support it, is all it takes to say you are not tainted by that. Why can't Tim Burgess get away with simply denying that he was tainted, and you let it go? How come he has this burden of proof that The Stranger doesn't have?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 11:29 AM

Elenchos @ 16:

The Stranger is not running for public office. EOD.

Posted by ivan | August 31, 2007 11:38 AM

@15, it's worth pointing out that democrats control both the executive and legislative branches of iowa government. for now.

Posted by josh | August 31, 2007 11:42 AM

CWA= Ladies Against Women

Posted by bing | August 31, 2007 11:45 AM

How did we all move from HATE MONGER MONEY - good politics or bad - to ads in weekly rags?

God, ellie, get a grip.

Burgess's problems at this moment have NOTHING to do with ad placements. What dope are you smoking this am?

Posted by Angel | August 31, 2007 11:45 AM

@18, they did not get into power by supporting gay marriage Josh and you are well aware of that. If it comes up on a ballot and the voters pass an amendment to their state constitution banning same sex marriages the Dems in a red state will be largely very quiet. (Remember, this is Iowa we are talking about, not Mass.)

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 31, 2007 11:47 AM


Both candidates for public office and newspapers need credibility in order to be effective.

And did you mean to say "EOD: End Of Discussion?" You said "End Of Discussion" to me? What are you, my father?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 11:48 AM

Can we agree, then, that neither Tim Burgess nor the Stranger are fit to hold public office?

Posted by J.R. | August 31, 2007 11:55 AM

To Cato at #15:

For several reasons, I don't quite see how the issue is as simple as (to paraphrase) "Iowans will vote to amend their consitution to ban same-sex marriage."

First off, this decision was limited in scope. In only one of Iowa's 99 counties could same-sex couples (for only a few hours) apply for marriage licenses. Only one same-sex marriage was performed. And the decision is being appealed to the Iowa supreme court. They might concur with the Polk County decision and strike down Iowa's DOMA law (in which case, a constitutional amendment would likely be proposed - see below). Or, the court might uphold Iowa's DOMA law, just as the Washington Supreme Court did.

If the latter occurs, I think there won't be a constitutional amendment. After all, as I understand it, the Iowa General Assembly, for every year since the late 1990s, has had same-sex marriage amendments introduced... and they've never made it out of the General Assembly. Never. And this covers periods where both Democrats and Republicans have been in control. Even if an amendment is proposed, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly, with a 53-47 majority in the house and a 30-20 majority in the senate.

Also, what kind of amendment do you think would be proposed? An Oregon-style amendment that bans same-sex marriage, but leaves the window open for civil unions or domestic partnerships? A Wisconsin-style amendment that outlaws all same-sex unions? Or even a horrific Virginia-style amendment that tries to go the extra mile and even outlaw private contracts between same-sex couples?

I'd like to think Iowa isn't as vindictive as Virginia, or even Wisconsin. Plus, with Democrats in control of the General Assembly, if an amendment were demanded by the public, perhaps they'd keep it to an Oregon-style amendment that would still keep the door open to civil unions and domestic partnerships. Perhaps. Also, do we know where their new (Democratic) Governor, Chet Culver, stands on this issue? Though he's not needed for an amendment, what he says could significantly sway the debate.

Plus, a constitutional amendment in Iowa isn't a single-step process. As I understand it, first a majority of both chambers of the General Assembly must approve it. Then, after the next election cycle, both chambers of the next General Assembly must approve the same amendment. Only after those two consecutive votes does the amendment go to the voters. So, perhaps even over that long period of time, the intense feelings stirred up AGAINST same-sex marriage by this court decision will have died down, throwing the amendment's approval into question.

These are just some thoughts I've had on the issue of Iowa and same-sex marriage. And I hope the good people of Iowa don't prove to be as knee-jerk reactionary as folks in many other states where this issue has come up.

Posted by James | August 31, 2007 12:01 PM

# 22 -

think the old saying --- thin ice

you are not making sense - the creep took hate monger money ( perfect way of saying it)

and you want to change the topic ...

yes, stay off the ice

Posted by Freddy | August 31, 2007 12:04 PM

I do apologize for hijacking a thread titled "Alert Tim Burgess: Sacredness of Marriage Under Assault in Iowa." I guess I just go around dragging Tim Burgess into everything. I'm weird like that I guess. Nobody even mentioned Tim Burgess until I had to go bring him up, huh?

And spreading hate is way different than trying to addict kids to a drug that will give them cancer and kill them. One is evil and the other is, what? Just business?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 12:14 PM

Shouldn't it be Concerned Ladies for America? I presume they wear sensible hats and white gloves that clasp at the wrist whenever lunching with their hairdressers and pool boys.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | August 31, 2007 12:27 PM

@ James, I have relatives in Iowa for one, (hell I was born and raised in a Red State). Gay Marriage SCARES the SHIT out of these people! Seriously, most would rather have a terrorist cell living next door to them over having a gay couple live next to them. And you assume reason has anything to do with how red states decide anything...especially on Gay Marriage?

This is going to lead to a knee jerk reaction in Iowa, watch what happens in the next few weeks. The judge opened up a can of worms by doing the right thing but one thing you can be sure of in America, the right thing will always go punished.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 31, 2007 12:31 PM

According to the story... "The marriage license approval process normally takes three business days, but Fritz and McQuillan took advantage of a loophole that allows couples to skip the waiting period if they pay a $5 fee and get a judge to sign a waiver."

If that other judge hadn't put a stay on the same sex marriage licenses,Iowa would have become the Las Vegas of gay weddings. I for one am deeply disappointed that I don't have the right to get drunk and wind up in an 24 hour Elvis wedding chapel married to a total stranger like any straight person would.

Posted by yucca flower | August 31, 2007 12:42 PM

No one else has mentioned it, so I'm just going to say it: that flag is RAD.

"IOWGAY?" Who even thought of that? Is it supposed to be offensive? Because if so, the Concerned Women for America need to learn that 'gay' is not a derrogatory term.

Fundamentalist Christians account for a good 80% of my entertainment (and disdain) in this life.

Posted by David | August 31, 2007 12:55 PM

@22: Both candidates for public office and newspapers have an a in them.

Both candidates for public office and newspapers consist of human beings.

Both candidates for public office and newspapers produce greenhouse gases.

I'm having real trouble coming up with others though.

Posted by F | August 31, 2007 1:38 PM

I just want to know what journalists' secret is. They seem to have an ability to avoid corruption and undue influence far beyond the powers of mortals. Everybody else has some explaining to do if their paycheck comes from the wrong person or group.

And that's what puts journalists in a special position to demand that other people explain themselves.

The efforts to make me shut up about this, even to the point of laughable little notes containing veiled threats, makes me think I must have hit nerve. This is a sore point, and it should be talked about, but it's really hard to talk about, I guess.

Otherwise, Savage would have just answered the question and been done with it.

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 1:46 PM

@32: As one of the folks making fun of your posts (without making any of those mysterious veiled threats you refer to), I'm stumped as to your point.

You seem to be saying that the Stranger writers and Slog readers have no right to question the record of a candidate for public office because they aren't pure themselves. Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I disagree. A candidate for public office is held to a higher standard. If a candidate for City Council owns a business that has done extensive work for an anti-gay political group, that's news. Mr. Burgess doesn't have to explain anything to the Stranger. He can ignore the whole issue if he wants to. And I can vote for somebody else if I want to.

Posted by J.R. | August 31, 2007 2:13 PM

Given that a Seattle City Council seat isn't worth a bucket of warm spit, I couldn't care less who you vote for. And the only Tim Burgess I really care about sings for a band called the Charlatans.

Here's the thing: Dan Savage does not agree at all with your dismissal of the problem because it doesn't matter if The Stranger is pure or not.

Savage and Barnett and Feit all claim they are pure. They claim there exists an invisible wall between editorial and advertising. This imaginary wall exists entirely on their say so, and you're rude to ask for proof of its existence.

Meanwhile, Savage and Barnett and Feit will hound officeholders and candidates day in and day out asking the same question over and over if they accept a campaign contribution from bad people, or if they work for a company that does business with bad people.

So I'm scratching my head wondering: how? They think they're untainted by the money, but they don't think other people can avoid being compromised. What makes them different than other people?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 2:40 PM

@ Cato in #28:

I guess we're sort of in the same boat with our Iowa connections. Though I must persistently remind myself that my familiarity with that state centers entirely in eastern Iowa. I'm told by my boyfriend and other lifelong Iowans that, as one travels west, natives are much more conservative and knee-jerk reactionary (so to speak).

In my own limited experience in eastern Iowa and with family and friends in that area is a more measured libertarian streak. When I came out to them, by and large, their reactions could be summed up in the attitude of, "That's fine by me. That's your own life." Live and let live, etc. I'll freely admit that any activities west of Des Moines are entirely unknown. But I still think that, given the protracted schedule of a constitutional amenment, and the numerous stopping points along the way for reflection, I assume it's less likely Iowans, in a post-DOMA situation, will enact a harsh amendment (banning same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and perhaps even inserting language to threaten private contracts), and more likely they'll simply enact a simple amendment to ban same-sex marriage, while leaving the door open to other alternatives.

At least that's my hope - that cooler heads will prevail.

Posted by James | August 31, 2007 2:53 PM

Elenchos @34,

In my experience, that invisible wall seems to be the norm for the newspaper world. Admittedly, my experience has all been with student publications (ie: high school papers and university papers), but I do think the model is the same.

Editorial, content decisions are made in one office, and advertising decisions are made in another. The two offices do not cross over, they don't discuss their respective jobs. If there's a controversial client for an advert the Editor in Chief might be called in to make a decision, but otherwise, it's all handled in its own little world within a world.

Now, when you contrast that with a private individual....

If I decide to take money from someone who's known to be anti-immigration, and then promote that person's views, I am personally responsible for promoting their views.

If a news paper takes ads from a tobacco company, the newspaper as a whole does indeed promote the use of tobacco, and does share responsiblity for promoting the usage of tobacco products. However, the individual reporters, the Editors, the content people have a much smaller share of that responsibility.

The reporters do not decide which advertisements to print, nor do they approve clients and contracts. Neither do the content editors. Their responsibility lies in choosing to work for someone who supports the tobacco industry.

Barnett, Feit, and Savage are able to go after political figures to find out what money they are connected to because they are journalists. Whatever your opinion on their journalistic credibility, that is their profession, their role. Journalists are not the people deciding which ads to run.

Posted by Phelix | August 31, 2007 3:07 PM

Journalists and editors do get to decide whom to make uncomfortable, and whom to offend. When was the last time you saw a newspaper do any consumer-advocate muckraking at the local auto dealerships? How come those "reviews" of cars you see in the Sunday paper are so fawning? Then there's department stores. Do the Times and the PI want to offend them?

With The Stranger, it isn't car dealers and department stores. It's booze and cigarettes, because they have that lucrative youth market to peddle. A big all-ages show section, for example, attracts tobacco money. Not on purpose -- it just happens. It's a magical, like the tooth fairy. They just want the kids to have fun, that's all.

The idea that any journalist could claim to be free from advertiser bias is highly suspect.

Yet Savage makes that very claim. His heart is that pure. And he has a flock of followers to stand up for him so he doesn't have to answer the question himself.

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 3:33 PM

cato: i your view is a reasonable one. i'm just hopeful along the lines of james: i come from an iowa family of those live-and-let-live types.

also, iowa has gone to the dems in 4 out of the last 5 presidential elections. so flyover country, sure, but i don't think of it as a red state.

Posted by josh | August 31, 2007 3:43 PM

@24, you asked "Also, do we know where their new (Democratic) Governor, Chet Culver, stands on this issue?" answer: "While some Iowans may disagree on this issue, I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman," Culver said. []

Posted by josh | August 31, 2007 4:39 PM

Elenchos, it seems like you're looking for a problem that doesn't exist.

Reviews are an entirely different kettle of fish than endorsements or articles on local politicians. Reviews should be honest, not brutal, but honest. I don't read the automotive sections of any paper, so I don't know about their fawning reviews. What I do know are the restaurant reviews.

Those reviews, from businesses that frequently advertise in papers (both main stream and alt), are often unflattering and bad for business. The theater and film reviews are frequently even more mean than the restaurant reviews. Films and theaters also advertise in both main stream and alt papers.

So maybe it's just the auto section that has a bunch of sycophants writing. I don't know. *shrug*

But, as I said before, reviews are different than endorsements or articles about local politicians.

When a paper with any readership at all reports on a public figure, either an established one or one seeking to climb to that position, they should find out about their positions. Figure out where their money came from, who they're connected to, and what they stand for. It's a journalistic duty.

Now, as for your point about there being booze and cig ads in the all ages section of the Stranger... last time I checked, the all ages section was a sub section within the music/live acts section, correct?

And other articles, ads, and announcements in that section deal with other establishments that aren't all ages, that are in fact limited to 21+ crowds. Yes?

The booze and cigs flood those pages too... because that's their intended audience.

Now, I'm sorry... maybe it's youthful idealism, but I expect my journalists to be free from advertiser bias. I don't find it suspect at all. They're there to report the facts, not tailor it to keep their advertisers happy, not tailor it to keep the government happy, not tailor it at all.

And I wouldn't consider myself a follower of Dan's, or even part of his flock. I enjoy his column, and I enjoy his paper, but I don't follow him nor do I require his leading. I'm trying to answer your question because it seemed like you were misunderstanding something. Now, it seems you just want to pick a fight with Dan.

Go ahead. If he'll answer you, I'd love to read that too... see if my experience with student journalism is anywhere near "real life" journalism in the alt weekly world.

Posted by Phelix | August 31, 2007 4:46 PM

Elenchos, you've made your point. The Stranger runs evil tobacco ads. I'm not even being sarcastic. I'm a reformed smoker, and I hate tobacco ads passionately. So. If the Stranger's tobacco ads offend you, then you can choose not to read the Stranger. And if any of the Stranger's journalists ever run for public office, you can certainly bring that up as a reason not to vote for them.

Regardless of the lack of purity on the part of the Stranger, the fact is that Tim Burgess's prior working relationship with a right wing hate group is news. Maybe he has a perfectly good explanation for it. I don't know. Tina Podladowski has made several SLOG posts defending Burgess. She apparently knows him and is not troubled by his past relationship with CWA.

But we haven't heard a peep out of Burgess. I'm guessing Burgess must know by now that his name has been splattered all over SLOG for two solid days, and that he is getting raked over the coals in the comments. I'll assume that he knows how to type, or that someone on his staff does. If Tina can jump in here and defend him, there is no reason he can't jump in here and defend himself. But he hasn't. Maybe his fingers are broken, or maybe he doesn't know how to use the internets, or maybe his entire staff is asleep at the switch. I'll presume he has access to a phone. He could have called the Stranger and given an explanation. If he had, I'm sure we'd have heard about it by now. But no. He has been conspicuously silent on the subject for two days.

I think this is a serious and legitimate question. I'm willing to suspend my judgement for now, mostly because I think Della is a worm, but I'm waiting for an answer from Burgess or his campaign. So far, nadda. That does not inspire me to vote for him. If he refuses to give some sort of satisfactory explanation for his connection with CWA, then I will not vote for him.

Posted by SDA in SEA | August 31, 2007 5:36 PM

Cato - I am in Iowa right now, visiting family, and you might be surprised, but the decision didn't even make the front page. My bf in Seattle and a good friend of mine, also in Seattle had to tell me, a person from Iowa, presently in Iowa, that a District Ct judge overturned the ban on same sex marriage. That was this morning.

So far today, not a single person mentioned the decision to me. Conservative or liberal. Maybe I am biased, but I think Iowans are more fair minded than you give them credit for. So far there is no outrage. This decision isn't even registering. Not even in the online comments section of the local paper here. I hope the IA Supreme Court does what Washington didn't or couldn't. One thing worth mentioning is IA Supreme Court justices are appointed, not elected and I would hope that they won't be influenced by interests of self preservation.

I also think its worth nothing that while it took 30 years for Washington to adopt basic anti-discrimination legislation it took one session here.

Posted by Zach | August 31, 2007 5:43 PM

Maybe Tim Burgess is thinking this is nothing more than the same kind of petty attack Dan Savage made on Jamie Petersen over his law firm's clients, in revenge for some obscure personal affront a decade ago.

Or Savage's long-running criticism of the Weekly back when they were owned by a company whose parent company gave a lot of money to the GOP.

This is why so many of Savage's defenders are off base. Your lines of defense only make him appear to be all the more of a hypocrite.

Dan Savage obviously believes that the money behind a newspaper matters. He never got tired of beating the Seattle Weekly up over who was signing their checks. Savage does not think that reporters and editors who are hypocrites are qualified to criticize candidates for office. He thinks if a reporter is paid with dirty money, that reporter shouldn't be respected as a reporter.

I actually support most of The Stranger's political positions, but they continually destroy their own credibility, and their endorsements become the kiss of death.

So maybe Burgess thinks the endorsements of grownups like Tina Podlowski or the Sierra Club matter more than the writers of a paper who habitually make fools of themselves.

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 6:21 PM

I think they need to hire a new graphic designer. That Iow gAy flag thing is pretty seventh grade.

Posted by Gitai | August 31, 2007 6:27 PM

I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is in the western part of the state, and is pretty redneck. For evidence, look no further than Representative Steve King.

With that said, central and eastern Iowa - with the exception of the Dubuque area - are pretty enlightened. So we'll see....

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 31, 2007 6:41 PM


Hold the phone, Dan Savage claims to be pure?!! Then who the hell have I been reading all these years?

Posted by Ben Weldon | September 1, 2007 5:28 AM

Do you not have Google at your house? Around here they throw it in free with your internet. Or am I the only one who has ever done a search on "Dan Savage" + "Tobacco"?

The short version of what I've been reading is that The Stranger has for years maintained that the tobacco money doesn't influence them. They are so immune they can arrange to have Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsor their Genius Awards (is editorial or sales in charge of the Genius Awards?) yet still "bite the hand that feeds" them. You hear that phrase a lot.

The Stranger thinks they have the tobacco companies fooled. That their snarky asides about how cigarette smoke is stinky stop more kids from getting hooked than the hand that feeds them is able to seduce with their lavish ads and bought-and-paid-for urban chic.

Posted by elenchos | September 1, 2007 2:21 PM

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