Newt Gingrich, who is surging in recent
polls, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Michele
Bachmann will appear Saturday at a forum in Iowa hosted by the
state's leading anti-gay marriage group.
The Thanksgiving Family Forum will take
place at the First Federated Church in Des Moines and is sponsored by
The Family Leader. Co-sponsoring the event are CitizenLink, the
lobbying arm of the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family,
and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most
vociferous opponent of gay marriage. Frank Luntz will serve as the
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt
Romney was invited but is not expected to attend.
The Family Leader is helmed by Bob
Vander Plaats, the Sioux City businessman who turned his attention to
ousting three of the Iowa Supreme Court justices whose ruling brought
gay marriage to the Midwest after he lost a bid for governor.
Vander Plaats has previously likened
homosexuality to polygamy and adultery and has called gay
people a public health risk worse than second-hand smoke.
During an appearance Friday on MSNBC,
Vander Plaats forgave Gingrich for his marital infidelities, saying,
“[T]he cornerstone at the heart of our faith is a thing called
forgiveness.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this
Gingrich has yet to sign the group's
anti-gay marriage pledge.