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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,
Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,

The Family Leader has removed link to anti-gay seminars

Spokeswoman says group hasn't held a 'second-hand effects' seminar in two years
By Jason Hancock | 02.15.11 | 10:44 am

A link to a seminar series that presents homosexuality and its “second-hand effects” as a public health threat has been removed from the website of The Family Leader.

Julie Summa, director of marketing and public outreach for The Family Leader, said the seminar series has not been offered for around two years. However, up until Tuesday, a link to the seminar’s website was made available to anyone who signed up for e-mail updates on the group’s 99-county “Capturing Momentum Tour.” The Family Leader’s phone number is listed as contact info for anyone interested in booking the seminar.

When asked by The Iowa Independent why, if the series has not been offered for two years, it continues to be advertised on The Family Leader’s website, Summa said it was a mistake.

This image of The Family Leader's website was captured and published by Igor Volsky of Think Progress. The link to was removed Tuesday.

“The Second Hand Effects link shouldn’t be on our ‘Capturing Momentum Tour’ web page, which was created from an old template,” she said. “We plan to remove it as you are correct, we do not currently offer the seminar and have not had a full seminar in about two years.”

The seminar series, which is advertised as exposing the “public health crisis of same-sex activity,” was first discovered by the “Good As You” blog, but garnered headlines when it was brought up by reporters at a press conference organized by The Family Leader with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The group’s CEO and president — Bob Vander Plaats — said the seminar hasn’t been offered since he came on board in November and vowed to look into the continued mention of the series on the group’s website.

“It is a true statement that the seminar has not been held under his leadership,” Summa said Tuesday. “I verified with our staffer responsible for the seminar, and it has been about two years ago that our organization has offered a Second Hand Effects full seminar.”

The Family Leader was officially founded in November to act as an umbrella organization for the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) and Marriage Matters. On the IFPC home page, the group’s longtime leader — Chuck Hurley — is quoted as saying, “Because of their unwillingness to correct the error of last April’s Iowa Supreme Court opinion, the Iowa Legislature is responsible for sanctioning activities that will lead to dramatically higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa.”

The quote comes from a press release issued just before the one-year anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. In the release, IFPC argued that gay marriage was more dangerous than smoking.

“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking [in some public places] in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said at that time. “The second-hand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”

Days later the IFPC published information in its blog entitled: “What’s Worse — Smoking or Sodomy?

Some of the arguments made by IFPC were later repeated by state Rep. Dwayne Alons (R-Hull) in an interview with the liberal blog Think Progress. He argued that homosexuality was indeed a public health concern, later claiming that being a homosexual reduces an individual’s life span.

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  • Anonymous

    I’m from The Palmetto State and I just want to say Thanks Y’all, for making South Carolina look good.

    • Republican

      South Carolina does not allow same-sex couples to get married. Iowa does…

  • Anonymous


    SO – DO – MY Friends
    SO – DO – MY Neighbors

    The acts performed in the bedrooms of homosexuals are exactly the same acts performed in heterosexual bedrooms. Maybe Vander Plaats hasn’t gotten beyond the missionary position, but most straight couples have. There’s not one thing a gay person has done that a straight person hasn’t. Have you taken notice of the risky sexual activities of our young straight generation lately? They literally can’t keep their pants on for more than a week! Do you think only gay people have unprotected sex? Seriously? I also wasn’t aware it was contagious. Jeez, I’ll not stand so close to the gay people I know. I didn’t know they were a hazzard to my health. Nevermind the rampant HPV cases in our young women and men, I’m sure they caught these from heavy petting. These conservatives are still quoting studies done 30 years ago and debunked for two decades. Vander Plaats is making a $120,000 salary with this latest gig, not to mention the money he’s siphoning off this “cause”. This is a money deal people! Do you think he’d be humping through 99 counties if he were only getting room and board? Not a chance! He’s actually telling people at these things that if gay marriage falls under the Equality Clause, the next things to fall will be your land and your guns. Scare tactics anyone? Pathetic. He doesn’t support impeachment of the remaining judges because he knows it wouldn’t fly. He just wants to extort their decisions.

  • Republican

    An organization with family in its name. How original.

    I don’t know much about this one, but it’s amazing how many of these “pro-family” groups spend all of their time trying to prevent other people from forming families instead of actually doing anything to strengthen their own. Supporting families by offering parenting advice, marriage counseling, etc., seems to be an afterthought for many of these groups.

  • egc52556

    That’s nice; they’ve removed the provably-false claim off of their website now that they’ve been outed.

    I wonder what it will take to remove the provably false claim from their thinking?

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