Foes of gay marriage in Iowa want Governor Chet Culver to stop a state Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage with an executive order, reports the Des Moines Register.

Monday, hundreds of people attended an anti-gay marriage rally at the Iowa Statehouse. It was the third large rally gay marriage opponents have staged since the state Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision striking down a gay marriage ban on April 3, a Friday.

The day was wet and gray as Republican candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats demanded Culver immediately shut off gay marriage before it begins – April 24 – by issuing an executive order. Invalidating the state Supreme Court order can only be accomplished by placing a gay marriage ban in the state constitution – a time consuming process in Iowa that requires two consecutive nods from the General Assembly followed by a vote of the people. The earliest voters could see the issue is 2012. But even that late date is in jeopardy because Democratic leaders in the Legislature have refused to take up the issue.

“I don't want to wait two years,” Vander Plaats told the crowd. “I want this governor to issue an executive order that says there will be a stay on all same-sex marriages until the people of Iowa have the right to vote.”

“If I have the opportunity to serve as your next governor, and if no leadership has been taken to that point, on my first day of office I will issue an executive order that puts a stay on same-sex marriage until the people of Iowa vote, and when we vote we can affirm and amend the constitution,” he added.

Vander Plaats has mounted two unsuccessful bids to become governor in the past and strongly backed anti-gay Governor Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

A Culver spokesman dismissed the proposition as pandering.

“Governors in Iowa do not have the ability to prevent or overturn a decision of the Supreme Court through an executive order,” said Phil Roeder. “It's disappointing that some people, especially politicians, would try to mislead the public into thinking that governors do have such power.”

People attending the rally wore red, the anti-gay marriage color meant to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ.