Post submitted by HRC Communications Temp Wyatt Ronan
Today, Vice President Mike Pence is set to visit Iowa to deliver remarks on the importance of faith in America at “Faith in Leadership: The Need for Revival.” The event is run by Bob Vander Plaats’ group FAMILY Leader. Pence and Vander Plaats have met in Iowa before, and like Pence, Vander Plaats has a long history of anti-LGBTQ positions.
Pence’s visit comes just 34 days from the 2020 general election as President Trump continues to struggle in national and swing state polls. Rather than reach out to undecided voters who largely support LGBTQ equality, Pence’s visit appears to focus on solidifying his base and visiting old friends. This visit begs questions about whether Pence is looking past the 2020 election and toward his 2024 Presidential aspirations by doubling down on his longheld anti-LGBTQ positions as he gears up for a national Republican primary.
Read more on Bob Vander Plaats' anti-LGBTQ history and Pence’s relationship with him:
In a 2011 interview, Vander Plaats said homosexuality was “a public health risk,” continuing on to say “If we’re teaching the kids ‘don’t smoke’ because that’s a risky healthstyle, the same can be true, too, with the homosexual lifestyle.”
Vander Plaats also joined a letter titled “Minister’s Marriage Letter to the Iowa Legislature” saying that “Homosexual behavior is defined by the Bible as immoral and sinful. (Lev.18:22) It is harmful both to the individuals who choose to participate in it and the society that chooses to accept it. (Romans 1:18-26) Given that understanding, the only truly loving response to the current debate over marriage is to reaffirm the only definition of marriage in Iowa Code – one man and one woman.”
Vander Plaats applauded President Vladamir Putin for banning marriage equality in Russia and said as a gubernatorial candidate himself that he would issue an executive order to halt same sex marriages on his first day in office
On a conservative talk show in 2013, Vander Plaats praised Putin for banning marriage equality in Russia, saying in support of Putin’s decision “don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country for the Olympics; we believe in one man, one woman marriage; there is no homosexual marriage in Russia.”
According to a Quad City Times report, Vander Plaats said in 2010 that “he would issue an executive order on his first day in office to halt same-sex marriages.”
Vander Plaats mirrors dangerous, homophobic QAnon talking points, claiming marriage equality would create a slippery slope toward pedophelia and polygamy
In 2015, Vander Plaats went on Right Wing Watch to say that marriage equality “undefined” the institution of marriage, meaning “polygamy can come back.” Vander Plaats said the same was true of pedophilia, falsely claiming that the University of Colorado wants to reclassify pedophelia as a sexual orientation and decriminalize it.
Vander Plaats has also articulated severely transphobic positions, including a statement that permitting transgender girls to use public facilities that align with their gender identity is a “trainwreck waiting to happen”
In 2015, Vander Plaats said “That’s a trainwreck waiting to happen, because there’s going to be a 21-year-old guy who says ‘I feel like a girl,’ he goes into a girls’ restroom, there’s going to be a 12-year-old girl who says ‘I feel like a boy,’ and something bad’s going to happen.”
Vander Plaats also called on then-Governor Branstead to boycott an anti-bullying conference because of the conference’s policy on transgender bathrooms, misgendering transgender people by saying “Do you think that moms and dads will approve of allowing boys to share restroom facilities with their daughters?”
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