By Jeff Angelo
Republicans in Iowa are being watched closely by the rest of the nation as we analyze the presidential candidates seeking the opportunity to go up against President Barack Obama next year. The privilege of holding the first official vote in the nominating process is exactly that — a privilege. It’s one that we must protect by fostering a thoughtful debate about the most important issues facing the nation.
Unfortunately, much of the coverage of our process in Iowa has been dominated lately by the extreme antics of the Family Leader.
First, its leaders asked presidential candidates to sign their so-called “marriage vow,” which implied not that children born to slaves were better off than children of divorced African American couples today, but that it is actually harmful to your health to be gay or lesbian — statements that have been disproved time and time again.
Then, a video surfaced showing the organization’s leader, Bob Vander Plaats, laughing and complementing a derogatory and hurtful joke aimed at gays and lesbians.
This type of discrimination and single-issue focus does not represent Iowa Republicans. We are most concerned with discussions about jobs, the economy and the budget.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, Iowa Republicans are interested in a kind, meaningful debate. For the past few years, Iowans already have been engaged in a deep and thoughtful discussion about same-sex marriage. Since civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples became legal in Iowa in 2009, I have gone though my own personal growth on the issue. During my time in the Iowa Legislature, I sponsored legislation to outlaw same-sex marriage in
I now strongly support the freedom for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples to
Conservative values, which are the bedrock of the Republican Party, tell us that above all else, defending personal freedom comes first. If we are to value individual freedom and limited government, we must support marriage equality. If we are to value strong family units, we must support civil marriage for all loving couples, including for gays and lesbians.
Nationally, conservative Republicans such as Dick Cheney and Laura Bush are also public supporters of same-sex marriage.
I started Iowa Republicans for Freedom because I know more and more Iowa conservatives are also realizing that marriage freedom fits within our ideals of less government.
And if you believe like me that it is time for us to get our party back to its true conservative roots, I hope you will join the movement at www.
Former state Sen.
Jeff Angelo of Ankeny is chairman of Iowa
Republicans for Freedom. Comments: http://iowa