Donations to the campaigns of anti-gay
marriage candidate Bob Vander Plaats have prompted a boycott by gay
rights group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Mike Wells, owner of Wells Dairy, and
other Wells family members have donated a $430,000 to Vander Plaats'
three failed bids to become governor of Iowa.
After failing to secure the 2010 GOP
gubernatorial nomination, Vander Plaats turned his attention to
ousting three of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices whose 2009
ruling legalized gay marriage in the state. Wells donated another
$25,5000 to Vander Plaats' Iowans for Freedom campaign.
Vander Plaats now heads The Family
Leader, which drew nationwide attention earlier this month when it
asked 2012 presidential candidates to sign an anti-gay marriage
pledge. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania
Senator Rick Santorum were the only candidates who agreed. The group
also spearheaded an effort to ban gay marriage in Iowa with a
is leading a boycott against Blue Bunny Ice Cream, which is owned
by Wells Enterprises.
In a statement released Thursday, Blue
Bunny denied it has donated money to Vander Plaats' campaigns.
“Blue Buny and Wells Enterprises have
never donated money to Bob Vander Plaat's [sic] political campaign.
Everyone, including our employees, has a right to support political
activities within their role as a private citizen. What our
employees support personally is no way an endorsement by our brand or
Dean Genth, the openly gay president of
the Iowa Coalition of PFLAG Chapters, said Iowans are becoming
increasing weary of social issues.
“People are becoming more
compassionate about calling people out and about this hate speech,
and to people who want to take away people's marriage equality
rights,” he said. “People want to jump on whatever organization
they can to prevent Iowa from becoming a state that embeds
discrimination in its constitution.”