Anti-gay marriage group targets Iowa Republican Senate leader

While visiting a friend in Pella today, I found an orange piece of paper lying on her doorstep. I picked it up, expecting to see publicity for some local event like next month’s Tulip Time festival.

Instead, I found a flier comparing Iowa Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley to a “chicken,” because he “refuses to do what it takes to get a vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment.” McKinley asked Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal to co-sponsor a leadership bill with him so that the Senate could debate a constitutional amendment on marriage, but Gronstal refused.

Public Advocate of the US, a right-wing group based in Falls Church, Virginia, paid for this flier, according to text at the bottom. That group’s president, Eugene Delgaudio, has been using direct mail and “conservative political street theater” to advance anti-gay views for years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him show up in Iowa on Monday, when same-sex marriages become legal.

The stated goal of the flier is to generate phone calls urging McKinley to take bolder action on the Iowa Marriage Amendment, but I wonder whether the real purpose is to support different leadership for the Senate Republican caucus. McKinley was elected Senate Republican leader last November on a pledge “to rebuild this party from the ground up,” but according to the Iowa Republican blog, some conservatives,

including WHO Radio talk show host Steve Deace, don’t think that the Republicans in the Senate have done all they can since they have not made a motion to suspend the Senate rules and force the Democrats’ hand.

Republican State Representative Chris Rants tried to attach a marriage amendment to unrelated legislation in the House and forced a vote on suspending House rules. Only two House Democrats, Geri Huser and Dolores Mertz, voted with Republicans on the procedural motion. Presumably Republican candidates and interest groups will attack the other 54 House Democrats next fall for not backing up Rants.

Alternatively, the flier could be nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to raise the profile (and mailing list) of Delgaudio’s group in Iowa. Does any Bleeding Heartland reader know whether Public Advocate of the US has ties to any rival of McKinley’s within the Republican Party of Iowa?

I don’t know whether this piece is being circulated in conservative neighborhoods across Iowa, or mainly in heavily Republican Pella. If you’ve seen it in your town or county, please post a comment in this thread or send an e-mail to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.

The full text of the one-sided, 8 1/2 by 11-inch flier is after the jump.

UPDATE: McKinley criticized the Iowa Senate’s failure to take up the marriage amendment in his closing remarks on the final day of the 2009 session.

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