Archive for the ‘Press releases’ Category

For immediate release:
Press Release
May 31, 2013

Des Moines, IA—On June 1, 2013, Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF) celebrates its two-year anniversary. IRFF is the conservative organization that supports individual liberty for same-sex couples seeking civil marriage recognition from our government, and was founded in 2011 by former Iowa Senator Jeff Angelo.

Angelo served in the Iowa Senate for 12 years, where he was a lead sponsor on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. However, in January 2011 Angelo announced his change of position during a public hearing on the Iowa House floor for House Joint Resolution 6, a resolution to limit the freedom to marry that ultimately failed.

“In the past two years, Iowa Republicans for Freedom has continued to give a voice to conservatives who support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” Angelo said. “Attitudes are changing on a national level, and I have every confidence that we are winning. As our organization looks forward, we will continue to engage with more conservatives across the state about how they can get involved and what they can do to help spread the word.”

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Press Release
January 28, 2013

Ken Mehlman, David Kochel, and Iowa Conservatives Speak Out in Support of Marriage Equality
‘The freedom to marry is consistent with conservative principles,’ say advocates

(Des Moines, IA)—Today, Iowa conservatives joined Ken Mehlman—a New York businessman, former Republican National Committee Chairman, and the architect of President Bush’s 2004 successful campaign—for a public event in Des Moines to discuss support for marriage for same-sex couples, and the future of the Republican Party. The public event was held at Davis Brown Law Firm and hosted by Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF), the public education organization making the conservative case for marriage.

“Allowing civil marriage for all Americans promotes freedom, cultivates family values like community stability, fidelity and commitment and follows the Golden Rule,” said Mehlman. “Like Dick Cheney, Clint Eastwood, John Bolton and Ted Olson, these Iowa conservatives support civil marriage because of our principles, not in spite of our philosophy.”

The event drew more than 30 Iowa conservatives from around the state. Attendees and participants were encouraged to talk to other Iowa conservatives—family, friends and church members—about supporting marriage for same-sex couples.

Mehlman was joined by David Kochel, Mitt Romney’s Iowa strategist and founder of Red Wave Communications, who expressed his support for marriage at the event and his desire to see the Iowa Republican Party support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

“Support for the freedom to marry is emerging as a mainstream position in the Republican Party. If we are to be the party of principles and values, isn’t our first obligation to the principle of freedom, and the value of individual liberty?” said Kochel. “The Republican Party must think big, be big, welcome new voters, and earn the trust and support of a much broader coalition, or be doomed to shrink into irrelevance.”

As the support for the freedom to marry continues to grow, many conservatives are unsure or conflicted about this issue, while others see this as an opportunity for the Republican Party. According to a December 2012 NBC News/ Wall Street Journal national poll, 51 percent of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples versus only 40 percent who oppose legal marriage. Here in Iowa, 49 percent of Iowans support marriage while only 43 percent oppose it.

The event was hosted by Iowa Republicans for Freedom founder and former State Senator Jeff Angelo. In 2004, Angelo co-sponsored the first constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa. He eventually reversed his position on the issue after talking to his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friends, family and constituents. In 2011, he founded Iowa Republicans for Freedom with the goal of increasing support for the freedom to marry among Iowa conservatives.

“As a proud Evangelical Christian and Republican, I believe the freedom to marry is firmly rooted in the values I hold dear—like freedom, individual liberty, and family values,” said Angelo. “By including our gay and lesbian neighbors in civil marriage, we can strengthen Iowa families and continue to build healthy communities for our children. This is why I’m proud to stand with Ken Mehlman and Iowa Republicans to make the conservative case for marriage. It’s the right thing to do.”

Also attending the event was Kathy Potts, Iowa Republicans for Freedom Advisory Board member, and Governor Rick Perry’s Linn County Campaign Chairperson. Potts joined IRFF in 2012 after the Iowa caucuses and has been an avid proponent of increasing Republican support for marriage equality.

“I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples and have been vocal about my support, even when it hasn’t always been the popular thing to do. I am inspired by what Mr. Mehlman has said, and what Jeff Angelo has done here in Iowa. I believe our party is turning a corner and that the future is bright for Republicans. I encourage more Iowa conservatives who believe in limited government and individual liberty to join us in supporting civil marriage for same-sex couples. It’s time.”

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Iowa Republicans for Freedom supports individual liberty for same-sex couples seeking civil marriage recognition from our government. Led by former Iowa Senator Jeff Angelo, Iowa Republicans for Freedom provides a voice to Iowa Republicans who agree that civil marriage is a right that should not be denied to same-sex couples. For more information, please visit www.iowarepublicansforfreedom.org.

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August 10, 2012

“This Saturday, the Family Leader is bringing in political candidates under the premise of holding a ‘summit’ that is both Christian and Republican.

The real purpose of this meeting is to formulate strategy that demeans many Iowa families with the goal of acquiring political power. As an Evangelical Christian, I am disturbed that this event is promoted as a means of putting my faith into practice. This is a political event and it does not speak for me and countless other Iowans who are called to unify people through love, not proactively divide our neighbors against each other.

Since founding Iowa Republicans for Freedom over a year ago, we have had conversations about the importance of marriage equality with Christians from across the state, and we have met conservatives who believe in both limited government and individual liberties. It is clear that one can be conservative and embrace fairness and equality. These are not mutually exclusive qualities.

I call upon my fellow Republicans and my fellow Christians to serve as an example of fairness and loving thy neighbor. Together, we can show our strength.”

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For immediate release
Press Release
June 4, 2012

Iowa Republicans for Freedom Celebrates One Year Anniversary
Conservative group supporting marriage equality transforms conversation in the state

Des Moines, IA—Today, the conservative group Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF) celebrated one year since its founding in June 2011. A year ago, former Iowa State Senator Jeff Angelo launched the group with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government intrusion, and increasing conservative support for marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa.

“In its first year, Iowa Republicans for Freedom has given voice to Iowans who believe that conservative values of smaller government should keep government out of the private lives of all citizens, including gay and lesbian Iowans,” said Senator Angelo.

Senator Angelo started the organization after publishing an opinion piece in which he detailed his journey from sponsoring an amendment in the Iowa Legislature that would have banned marriage for same-sex couples, to supporting full marriage equality. Since the group launched, 130 new members have joined, and five prominent Iowa Republicans signed on to be a part of the advisory board, including City Council members Jason Gordon of Davenport, Craig Patterson of Grimes, Matt Walsh of Council Bluffs, and Linn County Republican Chair Kathy Potts.

“Since joining Iowa Republicans for Freedom, I have received so much positive feedback from conservatives in Iowa and around the country. Marriage equality is truly a conservative issue,” said Potts. “I believe in the American dream of individual liberty, and what could be more antithetical to that dream than barring someone from marrying the person they love? I know that there are many conservatives who hold the values of fairness and freedom and we need to stand up and make our voices heard. That is why I joined Iowa Republicans for Freedom.”

Conservative support for marriage is growing. Last year, four Republicans in the New York state legislature were crucial votes in the passage of New York’s marriage equality law. Just a few months later, a Republican majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives defeated an amendment that would have repealed New Hampshire’s marriage equality law. Prominent Republicans have also voiced their support for the freedom to marry, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bush Administration Solicitor General Ted Olson, first daughter Laura Bush, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. In December, 2011 a New York Times poll found that a majority–58%–of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers supported some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

“Looking ahead, I see great things for this organization,” continued Angelo. “I know that the future of marriage equality in this country rests with conservatives as we saw in New York and New Hampshire and here in Iowa. I invite conservatives who truly believe in small government and in individual freedom to stand with us in support of our fellow Iowans.”

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Click here to read Jeff Angelo’s Opinion piece in The Des Moines Register “Why My View On Same-Sex Marriage Has Changed”
May 31, 2011: http://iowarepublicansforfreedom.com/2011/04/05/why-my-view-on-same-sex-marriage-has-changed/

Click here to for the results of the December 2011 New York Times/ CBS Poll

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Press Release
March 20, 2012

Coalition of Marriage Equality Supporters Respond to the Family Leader “Marriage Rally”
One Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, Senator Matt McCoy, and Iowa Republicans for Freedom speak out against a marriage ban

Des Moines, IA—This morning, anti-equality groups The Family Leader and The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) stormed the state capitol with roughly 20,000 unverified petition signatures to intimidate Iowa legislators into passing a marriage amendment that would ban marriage for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. In response, One Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, AFSCME, Senator Matt McCoy and Solon couple Tammy Steinwandt and Melanie Muth held a press conference in support of marriage equality.

“With growing support for equality nationwide, One Iowa is committed to having meaningful conversations with Iowans in every corner of the state about why marriage matters,” said Calla Rongerude, One Iowa Interim Executive Director. “Marriage isn’t about signatures or politics or cameras and sound bites. Marriage is about love and commitment. Today, we are working to ensure that Iowa families don’t get lost in the noise of this rally. Iowa families deserve better than a sideshow.”

The 2009 Iowa Supreme Court case of Varnum v Brien unanimously ruled that gay and lesbian couples could no longer be excluded from the freedom to marry. Since then, anti-equality advocates in the state–most notably, The Family Leader–have worked to pass a harmful ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Bob Vander Plaats, the President and CEO of The Family Leader, has been an outspoken opponent of marriage equality and claims to be the “kingmaker” for Republican candidates in spite of three unsuccessful bids for Governor.

“The Family Leader claims to speak for Iowa conservatives and for Christians. But as a conservative, I can tell you that I value small government and individual freedom, which includes the freedom to marry for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples,” said former state Senator Jeff Angelo, Founder of Iowa Republicans for Freedom. “As an evangelical Christian, I believe in loving my neighbor and valuing the dignity of all Iowans. My hope is that all families will be treated the way I would want to be treated.”

“The Family Leader continues to waste valuable time with stunts like these. They have stormed the capitol with only 20,000 signatures in a grand attempt to bully us into passing a marriage ban,” said Senator Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines. “These scare tactics will no longer work. We know that Iowans want a stronger economy, more jobs, and better schools, not a harmful marriage ban that will hurt Iowa families. I will work with my fellow legislators to focus on the issues that matter most to Iowans.”

This so-called “marriage rally” was organized by The Family Leader and was bankrolled by The National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM has traveled to Iowa frequently in order to infuse their agenda into Iowa politics. In 2010, after NOM flooded the state with out-of-state money to influence the judicial retention vote, Brian Brown, President of NOM said that “his group’s focus is now to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Iowa to give voters a chance to overturn the court’s decision and redefine marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

“AFSCME Iowa Council 61 will continue to be among the coalition of supporters from across the state. We must work together to fight any attacks on equality. It is time to raise our voices and let our legislators know in no uncertain terms, that we will not stand by and allow such an attack to become successful,” said Danny Homan, President, AFSCME Iowa Council 61. “Let’s put these anti-equality groups and supporters on notice: We will do everything in our power to keep you from turning back the pages of equality and freedom for all Iowans.”

In response to the rally, a coalition of marriage equality supporters gathered for a press conference to voice their opposition to a marriage ban and to the shameless political tactics of The Family Leader and NOM.

“It is a privilege for the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa to represent the many faith leaders and people of different faiths from across our state that support ALL Iowa families, including those headed by gay and lesbian couples,” said Reverend Matt Mardis-Lecroy of The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. “Of course, I am one of those faith leaders. I am a Christian minister who supports marriage equality in the state of Iowa and the Family Leader does not speak for all people of faith. I do not support marriage equality in spite of my Christian faith; I support marriage equality because of my Christian faith.”

“Iowa is a wonderful place to live. We are proud and blessed to live here. We are especially proud that we live in a state that values all families,” said Tammy Steinwandt of Solon, Iowa. She and her wife Melanie Muth have been married for three years. “Every day that we have been married is counted as a blessing! Marriage equality is truly about people not all of this political rhetoric. We stand proud to be who we are and we celebrate this state where we are free to love and marry our soul-mate and best friend.”

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March 8, 2012

Sandi Jacques

Jeff Angelo

Former GOP County Chair Joins Iowa Republicans for Freedom Advisory Board

Kathy Potts joins board to build statewide Republican support for marriage equality

Des Moines, IA—Today, Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF) announced a new addition to the advisory board. Former GOP Party Chair Kathy Potts will join Republicans throughout the state including former Iowa State Senator Jeff Angelo and City Councilmembers from Grimes, Davenport, and Council Bluffs. She brings with her years of experience with the Republican Party serving as a party leader and campaign volunteer.

“We are proud and honored to have Kathy join our team,” said Senator Jeff Angelo, IRFF chair. “The goal of Iowa Republicans for Freedom is to increase support for marriage equality among Republicans in the state, and with the support of this influential and visible GOP leader, we know that we can reach more Republicans who believe in small government and equality for all.”

Kathy Potts is a former Linn County Republican Chair and has been an active volunteer on numerous Republican campaigns, most recently serving as County Chair for the Rick Perry campaign for President. She also served on the Linn County Leadership Team for Mitt Romney in the 2008 campaign. She has been active in the Iowa Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women.

“Over the course of my career, I have met many members of the LGBT community and I’ve learned to see people and not labels,” said Kathy Potts. “Supporting small government and individual liberties are the
key tenets of the Republican Party and I am excited to begin working with Iowa Republicans for Freedom to encourage support for marriage equality among my fellow Republicans.”

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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.”

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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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