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Iowa's governor sponsoring anti-gay Family Leader summit?

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization For Marriage, Family Research Council Action, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Focus on the Family's Citizenlink are all sponsors of the upcoming Family Leadership Summit, which is the project of Iowa's leading anti-LGBT organization, the Family Leader. The speaker roster is a who's who of anti-LGBT commentators, from FRC's Tony Perkins to Rick "man on dog" Santorum to the Benham brothers. You don't get much more anti-LGBT than this crew. This is an event with a clear (and alienating) agenda, put on by a man, Bob Vander Plaats, who has repeatedly referred to homosexual as a "public health risk."

Which is why I'm pretty damn disgusted that the state's current governor, Terry Branstad (R), has apparently hitched his reelection campaign to the event. According to The Family Leader, the Branstad campaign is an official supporting sponsor of the pointedly hostile shindig:

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 At 9.29.08 Am
[Family Leadership Summit Supporting Sponsors]

The Family Leader is the same organization that once attacked Branstad for sponsoring an event designed to protect LGBT youth by comparing homosexuality to playing dodge ball in the street. And yet Branstad thinks his path toward reelection is to sidle up alongside this kind of wanton (and dangerous) discrimination? Disgusting!

It's his campaign and not his office, so there's probably no real ethics violation here. Thought I'd say it's a huge violation against principled leadership, fair-minded governance, and the affirmation of the dignity of all Iowans.

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