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March 21st, 2012

Vander Plaats Continues Fight Against Gay Marriage

The crusade to end gay marriage in Iowa continues for Bob Vander Plaats and his Family Leader organization. Almost three full years after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage, the effort from social conservatives to end the practice has produced few results. The successful ouster of three of those justices remains a Pyrrhic victory.

Although the results of the judicial retention vote were historic and unprecedented, four of the justices who voted in favor of gay marriage remain on the bench. Iowa’s judicial selection process remains unchanged and the chances of overturning their ruling grow slimmer with each passing year.

Still, Iowa’s social conservatives continue the fight. More than 200 of them attended a rally at the State Capitol on Tuesday. Their chants of “Let us vote” filled the building. Bob Vander Plaats and National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown fired up the crowd and implored them to continue pressuring the Iowa Senate.

“Today, you’re going to hear words like marriage equality,” Vander Plaats said. “If we want marriage equality, why stop at same sex? Why not have polygamy? Why not have a dad marry his son or marry his daughter? If we’re going to have marriage equality, let’s open this puppy up and have marriage equality. Otherwise, let’s stick to the way God designed it, one man, one woman. Period.”

Vander Plaats and Brown correctly predicted that during a press conference later in the day, the proponents of same sex marriage would accuse them of resorting to “hate”. Conversely, the speakers at the LUV rally repeatedly stressed the necessity for showing love to their opponents.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is not about fear and it’s not about hate,” Vander Plaats said. “Nobody here is holding up a sign belittling anybody. Nobody’s here producing a video saying what a bad person this particular person is. This isn’t about fear and hate. We do not need the emotions of fear and hate. This is about love and this is about Truth.”

The LUV rally was organized by The Family Leader in conjunction with the National Organization for Marriage and “We hear that this is somehow about civil rights and that those of us who oppose the redefinition of marriage are somehow bigots,” said NOM President Brian Brown. “And yet, what Dr. Martin Luther King called the most important civil right, the right to vote, these very same folks feel fine in depriving us of this right.”

The Family Leader implored the attendees to lobby at least one state senator during their visit to the Capitol. The Iowa House voted in favor of a marriage amendment last year. As long as Democrats hold a majority in the Iowa Senate, a vote on gay marriage and will be blocked by Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. Still, Iowa’s social conservatives hope they can change some minds during this legislative session. It would only take two Democratic senators to come out in favor of a marriage amendment.

“This isn’t about loyalty to a party,” Vander Plaats said, with vocal agreement from the crowd. “This is about legacy to the next generation.” At the end of the rally, Family Leader Political Director Greg Baker singled out four Senate Democrats who are most likely to change their minds. All four are retiring this year: Gene Fraise, Jack Kibbie, Tom Hancock and Tom Rielly.

Democrats, as well as some Republicans, say the legislature’s sole focus this session should be on the economy. The attendees at the LUV rally and the 20,000 Iowans who signed The Family Leader’s petition for an Iowa Marriage Amendment reject that notion.

“Until you restore that foundation of this country, which is the family and its bedrock of one man, one woman marriage, you can forget about the economy and limited government,” Vander Plaats said. “If you want limited government and you want a strong economy, you better have strong families.”

Those words prompted a 25 second ovation from the crowd. Several Republican hopefuls for the Senate and House were among the attendees at the LUV rally. Although the economy will be the primary issue that drives voters this November, the chance to vote on an Iowa Marriage Amendment will also bring people to the polls. The only way to accomplish that is by giving Republicans the majority in the Iowa Senate and maintaining or building their majority in the Iowa House.

Photo by Dave Davidson,

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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