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GOP White House takeover: Road begins in Iowa, painting gays as 'distorted'

by Jeremy Hooper

This is how Iowa's new "pro-family" group, The Family Leader, views our lives and loves:

The Family Leader affirms sexual relations within the bond of marriage, and opposes distortions of sexuality or special rights to those practicing distorted sexual behavior.
Sexuality [TFL]

Plus last week, we showed you how this group -- working in tandem with its larger organizational body, the Iowa Family Policy Center -- promotes scientifically discredited "ex-gay" therapy and the deeply offensive idea that gays are to be compared to cigarette smoke:

Screen Shot 2011-01-21 At 7.56.59 Am
(*actual promo graphic)
The full details/links to TFL: Iowa's Family Leader tour: To where, exactly,
do they wish to lead the state's gays?

So to what conservative heights does this attempt to paint a rich, vibrant sect of human beings as dangerous and distorted vault The Family Leader and its leaders? Well, it lands them plum opportunities alongside potential GOP presidential nominees, natch:

DES MOINES, Iowa. (KTIV)--Expect at least five "potential" presidential candidates on one northwest Iowa college campus over the next few months.

The Family Leader, headed by Bob Vander Plaats, has announced Dordt College, in Sioux Center, will host its "presidential lecture series".

So who has committed to the lecture series?

Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who will speak at Dordt on Feb. 7th, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and businessman and radio host Herman Cain.

Family leader announces speakers for its "presidential lecture series" [KITV]

And it's not just these five candidates either. Mike Huckabee is a huge Family Leader fan. Some of you may remember the former Arkansas governor's recent appearance at The Family Leader's kick off event, where the once and likely future GOP nominee made a very clumsy and misguided GodFather allusion as a way of denying that this anti-gay "culture war" is personal. The Family Leader says that Huck, along with others like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sarah Palin, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) have been invited to participate in this ongoing series (as well as a reportedly unresponsive Mitt Romney).

Is this smart strategy? Is going beyond even marriage equality and instead cutting right into gay people's "distorted" souls really the way for the GOP to achieve a 2012 takeover? Well, none of us know that answer for sure. However, one thing is for certain: That as long as these conservatives show such eagerness to partner with groups like IFPC/The Family Leader, everyone with a media outlet has a responsibility to make these LGBT-specific charges a major part of the conversation!

For The Family Leader and other "pro-family" Iowans, gays in the marriage-equality-having state are not just part of the conversation: Gays are *THE* major focus! The spotlight on The conservatives' anti-gay lifestyle choices must be just as hot even hotter than the undimming interrogation light they've placed on our worth.

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