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Pawlenty will do three events with The Family Leader
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will participate in a three-city Iowa lecture tour organized by a controversial conservative organization on Feb. 7.
Pawlenty will deliver a “pro-family lecture” followed by a structured Q&A facilitated by Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader, at events held at Pella Christian High School in Pella, the University of Iowa in Iowa City and Dordt College in Sioux Center, according to a release sent to the media.
The Minnesota Republican is the first potential presidential candidate to participate in the lecture series, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann scheduled to join the series line-up on April 11; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on May 2; and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and radio talk show host Herman Cain to join on an unspecified date.
Invitations have also been extended to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
In addition to being an influential voice in Iowa’s social conservative movement, The Family Leader is also no stranger to controversy. The group acts as an umbrella organization for the Iowa Family Policy Center and the formerly federally funded mentoring program Marriage Matters. Those groups have publicly argued that homosexual activity is “more dangerous for individuals who engage in it than is smoking,” and because Iowa lawmakers won’t pass an amendment ending legalized same-sex marriage, there will be “dramatically higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa.”
And as the LGBT blog Good As You pointed out last month, The Family Leader is providing a seminar to churches around Iowa designed to help teach pastors about the “second-hand effects” of homosexuality, with lessons like “gay sex kills,” “homosexuality is not hardwired,” and “the public health crisis of same-sex activity.”
Chuck Hurley, president of Iowa Family Policy Center, argued last year that any religious leader who supports legalized same-sex marriage is “confused at best and blatantly evil at worst.” Later, while campaigning for the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court judges who joined in the unanimous decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Hurley said the state needs laws that outlaw homosexual acts.
“Sodomy was called a crime against nature for centuries,” he told Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson last month.
Danny Carroll, another prominent member of The Family Leader, has argued that same-sex marriage would likely lead to “multiple arrangements (polygamy), or marriage will lose all significance.” It’s an argument made by Bob Vander Plaats shortly before the judicial retention election.
“In [the Iowa Supreme Court's] own opinion they discriminated against people who want to be polygamous,” Vander Plaats said at a forum hosted by Simpson College and The Iowa Independent. “They discriminate against people who want to be bisexual – one man, one woman. They discriminate, in their own opinion, against someone who wants to marry their own child.”