A former Iowa state senator is launching a group for conservatives who support marriage equality, The Des Moines Register reports.
Jeff Angelo, a Republican who once opposed marriage rights for same-sex couples, going so far as to cosponsor an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution, says his position has evolved due to his friendships with people who have gay family members. He also says supporting marriage equality isn't necessarily a liberal stand, nor is opposing it a conservative one.
"This debate centers around the devaluation of the lives of a select group of people," he told the state legislature during a public hearing on the issue earlier this year. "At its worst, we are being asked to believe that our gay friends and neighbors are involved in a nefarious agenda. The outcome of which, supposedly, is the unraveling of society itself."
His group, Iowa Republicans for Freedom, will launch Wednesday morning with an event at the state capitol in Des Moines. He has also scheduled events for Thursday in Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
Iowa has had marriage equality since the state supreme court ruled in favor of it in 2009. The movement to strip gay Iowans of marriage rights does not reflect "the character of Iowans, the culture of Iowa," he told the Register. "Iowa is culturally a state that is very welcoming, that celebrates its people, is very protective of its people."