“Values voters” bus tour lacks diversity, doesn’t represent all Iowans

DES MOINES–October 13-16, the Family Leader is cosponsoring a statewide bus tour with anti-equality organizations Faith Family Freedom Fund, an affiliate of FRC Action PAC, and the National Organization for Marriage. The tour, “Standing for the American Family,” kicked off this morning in Des Moines at the State Capitol. Speakers included the Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats and other conservatives who encouraged so-called “values voters” to have their voice heard in the upcoming midterm elections.

At today’s stop in Des Moines, the Family Leader attacked marriage and the courts, saying that “courts don’t get to make the law” in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that paved the way for marriage equality in five more states and counting across the country. The Family Leader also hinted that if conservatives obtain control of the Iowa Legislature, reinstating Iowa’s same-sex marriage ban through a ballot initiative could be a potential target.

The following is a statement from Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of One Iowa. One Iowa is the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization ensuring full equality for LGBT individuals through grassroots efforts and education.

“Sadly, this misguided bus tour and its hurtful rhetoric do not represent the rich diversity of families in Iowa and across the nation–a diversity that includes race, culture, freedom of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and so much more. At One Iowa, we work toward a future where all families will be respected without bias, where the extraordinary freedoms of America are accessible to all, including its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. We know we are winning in our struggle for LGBT equality. We know that this bus tour is simply an outdated reaction to this new reality.

“In 2010, we saw three competent and fair Iowa Supreme Court justices lose their jobs because of a retention campaign co-opted by the Family Leader and its allies, including the National Organization for Marriage. This constant attack against our valued judicial system must stop. We must celebrate our courts as we work toward a judiciary that is representative, inclusive and fair no matter what the cost. What’s more, Iowa has enjoyed marriage equality for over 5 years now with a majority of Americans supporting the freedom to marry. The culture has changed so much in the last few years around the important issue of marriage, and yet the Family Leader and its partners still have their feet stuck in the mud. It’s time to move on.”