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Vander Plaats attacks Rants over same-sex marriage
In what might be the first shot of the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats criticized state Rep. Christopher Rants for his stance on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In a statement to the media, Vander Plaats said if elected he would sign an executive order banning same-sex marriages as part of an effort “to give Iowans the right to vote on the issue.”
Rants, who successfully passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004 when he was Speaker of the House (it never passed the Iowa Senate, effectively killing it), has said the governor does not have the authority to issue such an order, a position supported by legal experts and constitutional scholars.
“With all due respect to Rep. Rants, I believe that’s the kind of leadership that’s brought us from being the majority in the state to being the minority in the state,” Vander Plaats said. “When you give complete power over to the Supreme Court, you’ll have tyranny not liberty.”
Vander Plaats has said repeatedly that he believes it is within the governor’s power to issue an executive order putting the Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage on hold.
“Executives need to lead,” he said. “This is not about winning the office it’s about leading. That’s what separates me from anyone else out there.”
This isn’t the first time Republicans have publicly debated the power of the state’s highest court since its April 3 ruling. Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King took heat from conservative activists last month when he said the only way to legally overturn same-sex marriage in Iowa is to pass a constitutional amendment, as courts have had the power to interpret the law since the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.
Neither Vander Plaats nor Rants have officially entered the gubernatorial race.
Rants did not respond to a request for comment.