Iowa Gubernatorial GOP Candidates allied against gay marriage

Tue. August 18, 2009 12:00 AM by

Should the Iowa governor's mansion return to Republican hands next year, it would house an anti-gay marriage governor because all five GOP candidates for governor are allied against gay marriage.

The five men spoke to a crowd of about 80 Dallas County Republicans Saturday, with all but one promising to back putting a gay marriage ban in the Iowa constitution. But even that candidate, State Representative Chris Rants, is against gay marriage.

The candidates spoke under a gazebo as rain poured around them. Christian Fong, an executive for a Cedar Rapids insurance agency, was first to speak.

"As governor I would restore a state government that reflects Iowa's core values when it comes to traditional marriage," Fong said. "I believe that Iowans deserve the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. It's a constitutional amendment I would personally support."

State Senator Jerry Behn commented on the intimacy of the gazebo: "It's kind of a nice, drawn-in crowd, you know, with everyone so close. It's kind of like a family." Then moved on to gay marriage.

"I voted in 1998 for the Defense of Marriage Act, that's the law that the [Iowa] Supreme Court just overturned. In 2004, I voted for a resolution that would have put a vote to the people to decide what traditional marriage would be in Iowa. Unfortunately, that resolution failed by 2 votes in the Iowa Senate. … Our goal should be to get that back in front of the people."

Behn went on to say he supported throwing out the justices who legalized gay marriage in Iowa in the spring. Three of those justices will be up for retention in 2010.

"So vote no on retention of those three judges coming up in 2010 and you will have a say," he said.

State Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll also agreed that the people should vote on gay marriage.

"When it comes to the issue of marriage in this state," Roberts told the crowd, "the people should decide that issue for government, not the government deciding it for the people. And the people of Iowa will have the opportunity to answer the question: Shall we amend the state's constitution and put our definition of marriage in the supreme law document of this state. And Iowans will get a chance to vote on that."

Frontrunner Bob Vander Plaats, a business consultant from Sioux City, renewed his pledge to issue an executive order to put a stay on gay marriage and force a vote on the issue.

"I will issue an executive order that places a stay on same-sex marriages until the people of Iowa have a right to vote on that definition of marriage. We need leadership because today it's about marriage and freedom, but if you continue to allow a Supreme Court to drive a car that isn't theirs it'll be about private property, it'll be about freedom of enterprise, it'll be about how you educate your children, it'll be about freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, everyone of your freedoms is up for grabs," Vander Plaats told the crowd.

Citing no specifics, he also suggested he would cut ties with the federal government on health care.

"This health care debate's a debacle," Vander Plaats said. "It'll be a complete loss of your freedom. … We will not let the government run our health care for us."

The five men will face off in the June 8, 2010 Republican primary for governor. There is still time for new candidates to enter the contest.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine