Bob Vander Plaats, the man behind an effort to oust 3 Iowa judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage, says it's a matter of freedom.

After failing to win the Republican nomination for governor on a platform focused primarily on overturning the state's 2009 unanimous Supreme Court ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest, the Sioux City businessman mounted a campaign to oust the judges who ruled in the case. He's rented office space and hired staffers to man his Iowa for Freedom campaign.

“They believe the only reason I'm doing this is because of marriage – wrong,” he told a crowd at a Taking Back America meeting in Cedar Falls, the Waterloo Daily Courier reported. “Marriage happens to be the issue, but this is about freedom.”

Vander Plaats, however, added that he would push the next governor to end the gay marriages taking place in the state with an executive order and lobby lawmakers to approve a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Voters will decide in November whether to keep Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit. The remaining four judges are not on the ballot this year.

The justices have already rejected the idea of campaigning to keep their posts.

A poll released earlier this month shows a majority of Iowa voters (56%) would vote to remove at least one justice from the bench.

Three Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls have endorsed Vander Plaats' campaign.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are in favor of axing the judges for deciding in favor of gay marriage.