Republican voters in Iowa have rejected
the anti-gay marriage rhetoric of Bob Vander Plaats, opting instead
to nominate former Governor Terry Branstad as their GOP pick for
Social conservatives had rallied behind
Vander Plaats, the contest's most vocal opponent of the 2009 Iowa
Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state.
While all three GOP candidates are
squarely opposed to gay and lesbian couples marrying, Vander Plaats
offered the most heated opposition, vowing to halt gay weddings in
the state with an executive order until the issue is decided by
voters and calling for the ouster of the seven Supreme Court justices
who voted unanimously in favor of gay marriage.
In a last-minute email to supporters,
the Iowa Family PAC, the political arm of the anti-gay Iowa Family
Policy Center, continued to praise Sioux City businessman Vander
Plaats for his anti-gay marriage rhetoric.
“Only Bob Vander Plaats will halt the
distribution of the forged marriage licenses that are being offered in
this state to homosexuals,” the group wrote. “He will keep his
oath as governor and actually abide by the constitution and enforce
the law. On his first day in office, Iowa will begin the process of
reestablishing our republic and removing the shackles of judicial
While a large majority of Republicans
surveyed before the primary (77%) said they want to vote on the
definition of marriage, Branstad's nomination signals that mainstream
Republicans put bread and butter issues ahead of reversing the
The Iowa Family Policy Center has
previously said it will not endorse Branstad's campaign because of
his limited support for gay rights.
Branstad will face Democratic Governor
Chet Culver in the fall.