Fred Karger, the gay activist considering a 2012 presidential bid as an independent Republican, has been excluded from an Iowa GOP debate.

The early forum is being hosted by the Iowa Christian Alliance.

The group's president, Steve Scheffler, told The Ballot Box that Karger wasn't invited because he's not a “legitimate candidate.”

“We're inviting all potential candidates who are legitimate candidates,” he said. Karger “is not a legitimate candidate.”

But Scheffler and Karger have wrangled in the past.

Last June, after Karger issued a statement lauding a judge's ruling against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, Scheffler accused Karger of harassing opponents of gay marriage.

“You and the radical homosexual community want to harass supporters of REAL marriage,” Scheffler wrote. “... I will work overtime to help ensure that your political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa.”

Pointing to his five Iowa visits last year, the formation of an exploratory committee, and the release of his first ad in the state, Karger insisted he's a legitimate candidate in an email to supporters.

And added that he'll fight for his right to participate in the March 7 event.