Iowa Governor-elect Terry Branstad has called Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal a “dictator” for vowing to block a gay marriage ban.

At a Monday event sponsored by the Associated Press, Branstad predicted the Republican-controlled House will approve putting a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a heterosexual union – and ban gay marriage – before voters.

The Republican also backed the November 2 voter-approved ouster of three out of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who unanimously legalized gay marriage in 2009.

“The Supreme Court, I think, made a tragic mistake in their decision on same-sex marriage,” he said. “The voters of Iowa have overwhelmingly rejected three members of the Supreme Court because of it and I think we need to restore support for the judicial system, and one way to do that is to give people the opportunity to vote on restoring one-man, one-woman marriage.”

Gronstal, a Democrat, has repeatedly vowed to block such a measure from moving forward in the Iowa Senate. “Just because you're a leader in the Legislature, doesn't mean you're a dictator,” Branstad said, a clear reference to Gronstal.

Gronstal responded that dictators take away rights.