Posts Tagged ‘family leader’

Marriage supporters to collide at Iowa Capitol

Posted on: March 15th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

The topic of marriage will be a difficult one to escape in Des Moines Tuesday as advocates and opponents of legalized same-sex marriages converge on the Capitol.

A coalition of social conservative organizations have organized a “Marriage Rally” that will begin with training offered by Tamara Scott, director of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, and include a demonstration on the west steps of the Iowa Capitol.

One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, is the primary driving force behind a “March at the Capitol” that will also begin with a training session before attendees are sent to speak one-on-one with state lawmakers.

Although conservative interests in the state have found support with Republicans, who have used their majority to pass legislation that would limit or eliminate same-sex marriage rights in Iowa, Democrats who hold a majority in the Iowa Senate have thus far thwarted all efforts. Frustrations for social conservatives have bubbled over in the past week, with key leaders of the movement calling for their supporters to work non-stop to defeat Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) and other members of Democratic leadership who have stalled their attempts to roll back a 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision.

The Marriage Rally today, according to Bob Vander Plaats, head of Christian conservative organization The Family Leader, is intended to “urge our Senators to ‘Let Us Vote’ on HJR6, the Iowa Marriage Amendment that protects and preserves marriage as between one man and one woman.”

One Iowa Political Director Troy Price notes that their demonstration will focus on a “Red Blue Purple” coalition of more than 100 organizations and 200,000 Iowans who oppose limiting marriage rights.

“These groups underscore the broad-based support for blocking any effort to add discrimination into our constitution,” said Price.

The conservative coalition has arranged for Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and unsuccessful Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate, to be their keynote speaker. Moore was removed from the bench on ethics charges after he usurped orders from his fellow Supreme Court justices and a federal judge to remove a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument he commissioned from the rotunda of the state judicial building.

Inclusion of Moore in the Iowa event has prompted national attention. Josh Dorner, writing for the Think Progress Wonk Room, notes that Moore, while serving as a circuit court judge, opened his court proceedings with prayers. As Moore’s celebrity status rose in conservative Christian circles, an influential and anti-gay Florida-based religious group, Coral Ridge Ministries, filmed the installation of Moore’s self-funded monument in Alabama and pledged to sell the video and other Moore-related tokens to financially support any future legal defense.

As time passed, Moore became more entrenched with anti-gay extremists who have advocated for gays to be executed. He wrote a notorious concurring opinion for the Alabama Supreme Court that derided homosexuality “to be detestable and an abominable sin.”

“Homosexual conduct by its very nature is immoral, and its consequences are inherently destructive to the natural order of society. Any person who engages in such conduct is presumptively unfit to have custody of minor children under the established laws of this State.”

In addition, Moore has publicly argued that Muslims should not be allowed to sit in Congress, and has aligned himself with and monetarily supported the “birther” movement, which argues that President Barack Obama is foreign born and, therefore, ineligible to hold his office. (Dorner provides much more of Moore’s attachment with extreme views in his Think Progress report.)

It has been so secret in Iowa that much of the money funneled into the state for the purposes of ousting Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage has come from anti-gay religious groups from outside of the state. To date, however, those passing money to Vander Plaats for the purpose of influencing Iowans in relation to homosexuality have not commonly served as keynote speakers for the local movement. In fact, Vander Plaats has been adamant that statements made by leaders of the national groups funding his state effort should not be construed as his own beliefs or that of his Iowa movement against same-sex marriage.

Whether or not Moore’s appearance in Des Moines will result in a more direct line between extremism and Iowa social conservatives remains to be seen.

Bachmann’s ‘misstatements’ catalogued by Minnesota Public Radio

Posted on: January 21st, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Minnesota Public Radio previewed U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s trip to Iowa on Friday with a piece looking at her frequent and bold statements that more often than not turn out to be untrue. The article points to Bachmann’s past whoppers and includes her track record at the Pulitzer Prize–winning website Politifact, which has documented 13 false statements by the Sixth Congressional District Republican since 2009. There seem to be few, if any, consequences for politicians who repeat known falsehoods, MPR notes.

Reporter Tom Scheck writes that even in interviews with MPR, Bachmann has made misleading statements and, when confronted, shifted the blame to President Obama:

In a nine-minute interview with Bachmann on Minnesota Public Radio News’ Morning Edition program earlier this month, Bachmann made at least four misleading or false statements. For example, she suggested the new federal health care law is the main reason health insurance premiums have increased across the country.

When MPR News asked Bachmann this week to discuss the many challenges to her credibility, the congresswoman dodged the question. Instead, she questioned the truthfulness of President Obama — saying he has misled the public about the federal stimulus and the health care law.

“President Obama gave us the opposite information,” Bachmann said. “That’s where the fact-checking needs to be held, because President Obama needs to be held accountable for not telling the American people about all of the failures that have come along.”

Bachmann, who has not ruled out a run for the 2012 GOP nomination for president, will be speaking at Iowans for Tax Relief on Friday night and has agreed to take part in The Family Leader’s presidential lecture series later this year.

MPR catalogues Bachmann’s ‘misstatements’

Posted on: January 21st, 2011 by The American Independent 2 Comments

Minnesota Public Radio previewed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s trip to Iowa on Friday with a piece looking at her frequent and bold statements that more often than not turn out to be untrue. The article points to Bachmann’s past whoppers and includes her track record at the Pulitzer Prize–winning website, Politifact, which has documented 13 false statements by the Sixth Congressional District Republican since 2009. There seem to be few, if any, consequences for politicians who repeat known falsehoods, MPR notes.

Reporter Tom Scheck writes that even in interviews with MPR, Bachmann has made misleading statements and, when confronted, shifted the blame to President Obama:

In a nine-minute interview with Bachmann on Minnesota Public Radio News’ Morning Edition program earlier this month, Bachmann made at least four misleading or false statements. For example, she suggested the new federal health care law is the main reason health insurance premiums have increased across the country.

When MPR News asked Bachmann this week to discuss the many challenges to her credibility, the congresswoman dodged the question. Instead, she questioned the truthfulness of President Obama — saying he has misled the public about the federal stimulus and the health care law.

“President Obama gave us the opposite information,” Bachmann said. “That’s where the fact-checking needs to be held, because President Obama needs to be held accountable for not telling the American people about all of the failures that have come along.”

Bachmann, who has not ruled out a run for the 2012 GOP nomination for president, will be speaking at Iowans for Tax Relief on Friday night and has agreed to speak before the Iowa religious right group, the Family Leader.

Vander Plaats raising money to ‘remove remaining four justices’

Posted on: December 29th, 2010 by The American Independent No Comments

Bob Vander Plaats and his newly formed organization, The Family Leader, is hoping to raise $8,000 before the end of the year in order to remove the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices over their 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

In an e-mail to supporters, Vander Plaats points to the results of November’s judicial retention election, which saw voters oust three justices from the bench, as justification for the other four justices to resign. The e-mail never goes into detail about what, exactly, the money would be used for or how it would help remove the judges, but it does set a Jan. 1 deadline to raise $8,000.

“All seven Justices are guilty of overstepping the line by their votes in the Varnum decision, therefore we are asking for the remaining four justices to resign in an orderly fashion,” he said. “As long as the Iowa Supreme Court is comprised of justices that abuse their authority, the credibility of our court will be compromised.”

Vander Plaats led the campaign to oust the three judges, with nearly $1 million in funding from out-of-state anti-gay organizations like the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage. After the election, he was named CEO and president of The Family Leader — an umbrella organization consisting of the Iowa Family Policy Center, the Iowa Family PAC and Marriage Matters.

He has consistently called for the judges left on the bench to resign, an opinion that caused the conservative editorial board of The Sioux City Journal to conclude Vander Plaats has officially “jumped the shark.”