The non-profit group leading the effort to repeal gay marriage in Iowa received more than $3 million in federal funds, the Iowa Independent reported.

The Christian-based Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) received the money between 2004 and 2009 through two subsidiaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal grants support the IFPC's Marriage Matters program, a weekend retreat program for couples which includes marriage and pre-marital mentoring.

The Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on April 3, 2009. Since then, the IFPC and its political action committee, the IFPC Action PAC, have led in the effort to undo the ruling. Its Let Us Vote (LUV) campaign focuses on pressuring state lawmakers to send an amendment that would outlaw gay marriage to the ballot box.

They have also endorsed the gubernatorial candidacy of Bob Vander Plaats, the most vociferous opponent of gay marriage vying for the Republican nomination. Vander Plaats has pledged, if elected, to halt gay weddings with an executive order until the issue is decided by voters. Most analysts have said such a move would not be legal.

On the first anniversary of the court's ruling, the group's president, Chuck Hurley, denounced the celebration.

He said IFPC members would be celebrating “the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who offers eternal life” as the gay and lesbian community celebrates “personal choices that lead to eternal death.”

Last month, Hurley created a stir when he said the secondhand impact of gay marriage is more destructive than smoking in urging lawmakers to take up the gay marriage measure.

“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said in a statement. “The secondhand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”

“Homosexual activity is certainly more dangerous for the individuals who engage in it than is smoking,” he added.

Democrats so far have blocked passage of a resolution that would put the issue before voters.

Recipients of federal funds cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion or disability in providing services, but discrimination based on sexual orientation is not prohibited.