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Archive for August, 2011

from The Omaha World Herald, published August 26, 2011.

Federal grant money awarded to a social conservative group to provide marriage counseling also helped pay some of its operational expenses while it was leading an anti-gay marriage campaign, according to grant documents obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

The $2.2 million received by the Iowa Family Policy Center between 2006 and 2010 helped hundreds of Iowans receive education and counseling, according to the documents. But it also paid for part of the salaries of five employees, rent, telephone, Internet and other expenses while the group was fighting legalized gay marriage in Iowa.

…U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials approved the grant budget, and there’s no indication the costs run afoul of federal guidelines. Still, critics said the grant was potentially troubling because it was involved in a high-profile effort to respond to the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling legalizing gay marriage at the time, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is investigating. A public backlash led Iowa voters to oust three justices last year.

…Jeff Angelo, a former state senator who founded Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which supports same-sex marriage, said he believes at least some tax money was used to further a political cause.

“If you are putting money to support offices, phone and Internet services and the salary of someone whose main job is partisan political work, you can’t just argue in a very nebulous way this money was used to save marriages,” he said. “This doesn’t pass the test.”

Read the full article from The Omaha World Herald.

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from The Quad-City Times published August 20, 2011.

Davenport city council member Jason Gordon has been appointed to the Iowa Republicans for Freedom’s advisory board.

Gordon was elected to the city council in 2009. Previously, he worked for representatives Jim Leach and Jim Nussle. He and his wife, Emily, and two sons reside in Davenport, where he is an active participant in the community. He is the director of new business development for Community Health Charities Iowa and is a member of the Davenport Rotary.

“I am excited to join the board of Iowa Republicans for Freedom,” Gordon said. “As a lifelong Republican, I have felt for some time that the party’s strong opposition to same-sex marriage was in stark contrast to the core principles of our party; that is one of a limited government that does not interfere in the personal lives of its citizens. I look forward to working with my fellow conservatives to stand up for individual liberties and protect the rights of every Iowan.”

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This editorial was published in The Gazette August 21, 2011.

As a lifelong Republican and conservative, I have always believed that government should be there to protect a person’s individual liberties, not take them away.

That is why I am supporting Iowa Republicans for Freedom and standing up for the freedoms of all Iowans — including the freedom to marry the person you love. As a conservative, I believe in smaller government. Which is why I am amazed that some conservatives want government to start dictating who people can and cannot spend the rest of their lives with.

Our state and our country were built on the ideas of freedom and liberty for all. I stand with the Iowa Republicans for Freedom in support of marriage equality for all Iowans.

Read the article from The Gazette.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release

August 18, 2011

City Council Members from Grimes, Davenport, and Council Bluffs join fight for equality

DES MOINES – Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF) chair Sen. Jeff Angelo announced today three new appointments to the organization’s Advisory Board representing cities from across the state. Joining the board will be City Council members Jason Gordon of Davenport, Craig Patterson of Grimes, and Matt Walsh of Council Bluffs.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have these three local leaders joining in our efforts,” said Sen. Angelo. “Since we launched IRFF, we have seen an overwhelming response from people all across the state. Each day, our numbers grow as more and more people realize that conservative principles demand we protect every person’s individual liberties, including the freedom to marry the person we love. I look forward to working with Jason, Craig, and Matt as we bring the conservative movement back to its conservative roots.”

Jason Gordon was elected to the Davenport City Council in 2009. Previously, he worked for Congressmen Jim Leach and Jim Nussle. Jason and his wife, Emily, and two sons reside in Davenport, where he is an active participant in the community. He is the Director of New Business Development for Community Health Charities Iowa, and is a member of the Davenport Rotary.

“I am excited to join the board of Iowa Republicans for Freedom,” said Alderman Gordon. “As a lifelong Republican, I have felt for some time that the party’s strong opposition to same-sex marriage was in stark contrast to the core principles of our party; that is one of a limited government that does not interfere in the personal lives of its citizens. I look forward to working with my fellow conservatives to stand up for individual liberties and protect the rights of every Iowan.”

Craig Patterson was elected to the Grimes City Council in November, 2007, where he has played an instrumental role in implementing new infrastructure projects, expanding economic development, and keeping tax rates low. He currently represents a number of professional organizations before the Iowa Assembly, and has previously served on the Congressional Staff of Rep. Jim Nussle. Craig and his wife, Lynh, have two daughters.

“Far too often, the debate around marriage gets lost in rhetoric, and it is easy to forget what this conversation is really about – the personal freedom to spend your life with the person you love,” said Patterson. “Conservative values tell us that life should be free of government interference, and that is why I oppose any effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would take away the rights of Iowans. I am proud to join the board of Iowa Republicans for Freedom so that every Iowan has a chance to be as happy as me and my wife.”

Matt Walsh has served on the Council Bluffs City Council for 16 years. During his time on the board, Walsh has helped attract new businesses to the city, and expand tourism in Western Iowa.

“When I registered as a Republican, I did so at a time when our party stood for fiscal conservatism and limited government involvement in an individual’s choices,” said Walsh. “Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen far too much emphasis on social issues. Now, more than ever, it is time for our party to get back to our roots – creating jobs and growing our economy, not social issues that only serve to divide us. As a heterosexual male, I can tell you that the Varnum ruling has had no impact whatsoever on my life, and I know that is true for countless other Iowans. As a member of Iowa Republicans for Freedom, I am excited to stand with Sen. Angelo and my fellow council members from across the state to help change this conversation and move Iowa forward.”

# # #

Iowa Republicans for Freedom is the only statewide organization dedicated to making the conservative case for marriage equality.  For more information on the organization, please visit www.iowarepublicansforfreedom.org.

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This editorial was written by Iowa Republican for Freedom chairman Jeff Angelo in The Gazette, published August 14, 2011.

Republicans in Iowa are being watched closely by the rest of the nation as we analyze the presidential candidates seeking the opportunity to go up against President Barack Obama next year. The privilege of holding the first official vote in the nominating process is exactly that — a privilege. It’s one that we must protect by fostering a thoughtful debate about the most important issues facing the nation.

…When it comes to same-sex marriage, Iowa Republicans are interested in a kind, meaningful debate. For the past few years, Iowans already have been engaged in a deep and thoughtful discussion about same-sex marriage. Since civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples became legal in Iowa in 2009, I have gone though my own personal growth on the issue. During my time in the Iowa Legislature, I sponsored legislation to outlaw same-sex marriage in our constitution.

I now strongly support the freedom for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Conservative values, which are the bedrock of the Republican Party, tell us that above all else, defending personal freedom comes first. If we are to value individual freedom and limited government, we must support marriage equality. If we are to value strong family units, we must support civil marriage for all loving couples, including for gays and lesbians.

Read the full article from The Gazette.

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from The Des Moines Register published August 9, 2011.

A bus tour of national groups opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage kicked off Tuesday morning in Des Moines before a large a media contingent but few of the “values voters” whom organizers are hoping to reach.

The “Values Voter Bus Tour” will roll through 22 Iowa cities over four days during one of the busiest weeks so far in the presidential caucus season. Along the way, it will link up with several presidential candidates as they reach out to voters ahead of Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, an early test of their popularity and organization.

…Among the speakers in Des Moines was Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who spoke for about four minutes.

Pawlenty highlighted his record as a state lawmaker and governor on restricting abortion, defining marriage as a bond between a man and a woman and appointing judges who demonstrated “restraint and humility.”

Read the full article from The Des Moines Register.

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from The Gazette published August 3, 2011.

A Republican group that supports legal same-sex marriages in Iowa has decried a “Values Voters Bus Tour” of Iowa in the week leading up to the Iowa GOP Straw Poll in Ames Aug. 13.

At least two candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum — have said they will join the bus tour that will pass through 47 Iowa counties on its way to the straw poll. Michele Bachmann and others are expected to join the tour, according to FRC Action’s Faith Family Freedom Fund, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List, the tour sponsors.

U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa will also join Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, and other state and national leaders.

Iowa Republicans for Freedom, a group which supports the Iowa Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriage, said the tour’s focus is on “taking away marriage equality for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.”

“This tour simply displays just how much money out-of-state groups are willing to pump into our state to interfere in our political process,” said the group’s chairman, former Sen. Jeff Angelo,

He went on to say there’s nothing to be gained by the candidates who participate because “they are all competing for a slice of a small group of voters whose vote is based on which candidate is most determined to deny Iowans the ability to be treated equally under the law as stated by our Constitution.”

Read the full article from The Gazette.

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from USA Today published August 4, 2011.

GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have signed a narrowly written pledge against gay marriage, on the eve of a bus tour through Iowa highlighting values issues.

These presidential candidates “stand head and shoulders above the crowd as marriage champions, for their willingness to go beyond words to commit to concrete actions,” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said in a statement.

The NOM pledge is more straightforward than a broadly written, controversial pledge by the conservative Family Leader group in Iowa.

…In the NOM pledge, signers are committing to five points:

  • Sending a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman to the states for ratification.
  • Defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which includes the traditional definition of marriage and bans states from recognizing gay marriage, in court.
  • Appointing federal judges and an attorney general who are opposed to a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
  • Appointing a commission to investigate claims of harassment against those people who support marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
  • Supporting legislation that would give people living in the District of Columbia the right to vote on marriage.

Read the full article from USA Today.

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from The Des Moines Register published August 3, 2011.

Three groups promoting issues crucial to social conservatives plan to spend four days next week on an Iowa bus tour that will include stops in 22 cities before the Aug. 13 Ames straw poll.

The tour will begin Tuesday at the Iowa Capitol and will continue through Friday. Organizers said Republican presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum will participate, and Michele Bachmann and other GOP candidates are also expected.

In addition, U.S. Reps. Steve King, R-Ia., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, plan to participate.

The “Values Voter Bus Tour” is sponsored by the Family Research Council Action’s Faith Family Freedom Fund, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Susan B. Anthony List.

…Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins said, “Values voters will be closely watching next week’s events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn.”

Jeff Angelo of Ames, chairman of Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which supports same-sex marriage, criticized plans for the bus tour, saying it will be focused on taking away marriage equality for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.

Read the full article from The Des Moines Register.

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from The Washington Post published August 1, 2011.

Same-sex marriage might seem like a straightforward issue: You’re for it or against it. Yet for the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, it’s proving to be an awkward topic as public attitudes change and more states legalize gay unions, the latest being New York.

Numerous recent polls suggest a slim majority of Americans now back gay marriage. Support is highest among Democrats, but is growing across the political spectrum even while religious conservatives — a key part of the GOP primary electorate — remain largely opposed.

The result, according to political analysts from both major parties, is a dilemma for the leading GOP candidates, most of whom oppose same-sex marriage but tend to avoid raising the topic unless asked.

“They see the polling — more and more Republicans are supporting gay marriage,” said David Welch, a former research director for the Republican National Committee. “It puts them in an awkward position with the younger members of the party and also with independents whose votes you need to win.”

Read the full article from The Washington Post.

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