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Iowa Gay Group: Homophobic Joke No Laughing Matter

Iowa Gay Group: Homophobic Joke No Laughing Matter

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An Iowa gay rights group has launched a petition demanding that antigay activist Bob Vander Plaats apologize for an incident, captured on video, that shows him enjoying a derogatory joke about gay people.

Leaders of One Iowa told Des Moines TV station KCCI that they had collected 1,000 signatures on the petition in less than 24 hours. "The bullying tactics of Bob Vander Plaats and the Family Leader have gone too far," said Troy Price, One Iowa executive director. "The overwhelming response we have seen shows just how Vander Plaats's actions have hurt loving, committed couples and their families across the state. This type of language has no place in the conversation about marriage. Bob Vander Plaats must apologize to the thousands of Iowans he has offended with his actions."

The liberal blog ThinkProgress this week posted a video from an event held in March by Family Leader, a right-wing group founded by Vander Plaats. It shows him laughing heartily when a man in the audience describes Iowa as "the state where you can't smoke a fag, but you can marry one." Vander Plaats tells the man the joke is "pretty good."

Vander Plaats, an unsuccessful candidate for Iowa governor, last year was behind the effort that led to the voter recall of three state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality. Recently, Family Leader has come up with an antigay pledge called "The Marriage Vow" for Republican presidential hopefuls to sign as a condition of receiving the group's endorsement. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann have signed it, but others have declined. Iowa is an important state for presidential aspirants because of its voter caucus, which comes early in the primary season.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.