Billions are being wasted and the
American economy is suffering at least in part because of gay
marriage, a NOM speaker in Iowa asserted Sunday.
About 100 people gathered at the Iowa
Statehouse to attend the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM)
Summer for Marriage Tour 2010 anti-gay marriage rally.
The nation's most vociferous opponent
of gay marriage has mounted a 23-city bus tour to promote marriage as
between “one man, one woman.” The tour is expected to end with a
Washington D.C. rally on August 15.
Iowa became the first – and remains
the only – Midwestern state to legalize gay marriage when the Iowa
Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of advocates last year. The
issue is driving many of the state's top races, with several
Republicans openly campaigning in favor of a constitutional amendment
to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
Several attempts to begin the amendment
process have been blocked by Democratic leaders in the Legislature,
angering social conservatives opposed to the institution.
Representatives from two of the state's
most vocal groups opposing marriage equality spoke to the crowd.
Danny Carroll, a former Republican
legislator and chairman of the Iowa Family Policy Center, reminded
the crowd to vote for anti-gay marriage candidates.
“Were you ever invited to a public
hearing on the policy on marriage?” he asked. “No. But all
political power is reserved to the people. You will have the
opportunity to express your opinion at the ballot box this fall.”
The group met with some success backing
a fiery social conservative for governor, Bob Vander Plaats, who
promised to end gay weddings in the state at any cost. In the end,
Republicans nominated former governor Terry Branstad, a moderate
Republican who opposes gay marriage but has placed much less of an
emphasis on repeal.
Tamara Scott, director of the Iowa
chapter of Concerned Women for American, framed the gay marriage
debate in terms of dollars and cents.
“It costs you, the taxpayer, as high
as $280 billion a year for fragmented families, according to the
Family Research Council,” Scott told the crowd, referring to a 2009
study from the social conservative group.
“If we would correct the breakdown of
the family by 1 percent, we could save the taxpayer $3 billion a
year. … We can fix this economic downturn very easily by fixing
some hearts,” she added.
Studies by the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law, however, show that gay marriage has been a
boom for states that have legalized it. A 2008 study estimated that
the institution would generate $160 million for Iowa through 2011.
Two miles down the road, nearly 300 gay
marriage supporters attended a counter protest organized by the gay
rights group One Iowa.
Attending the rally was First Lady Mari
Culver, who told the Iowa Independent that she disagreed with
Scott's view of how gay marriage impacts the economy.
“I think [NOM] is looking for some
economic cover, rather than reveal that some in their group are
simply anti-gay,” she said.
The bus rolls into Sioux City on