Unannounced Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty underscored his right-wing credentials with Iowa Republicans Monday, assuring them that he opposes repealing the ban on gays in the military, and thinks it would be “reasonable” to rescind funding to implement repeal.
He also said he believes marriage is “between a man and a woman.”
The positions are no surprise.
Last May, while still governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty vetoed a bill that sought to enable the surviving partner in a same-sex relationship to determine what to do with the remains of his or her deceased partner.
Pawlenty said at the time that the bill was unnecessary because “a person can, by executing a will, designate who shall be empowered to control final disposition of his or her remains.”
“I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage,” added Pawlenty.
That was a surprising rationale given that, in his book, Courage to Stand (released last month), he urged, “Whenever Christian leaders try to influence social policy, it’s important to remain good-hearted, measured, and loving.”
Pawlenty boasted about his opposition to same-sex marriage to the Iowa audiences. His remark about rescinding funds for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT ) repeal was in response to a question from the person videotaping Pawlenty’s remarks for a liberal think tank.
The videographer, from ThinkProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress, taped Pawlenty’s comments that he did not support repeal of DADT, then asked him, “And rescinding the funds for implementation… of repeal?”
“That would be a reasonable step as well,” replied Pawlenty.
Funds for implementation of repeal would come from Congress, of course, and Congress voted in December to repeal DADT. The Pentagon is now preparing to train the armed forces to prepare for implementation of repeal, presumably later this year.
Pawlenty made his remarks while speaking before “Family Leader,” a “Christ-centered” group organized to “protect the family” in Iowa. It is led by Bob Vander Plaats, the organizer of the successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices last year over decision that Iowa’s constitution requires equal treatment of same-sex couples when it comes to marriage licensing.
Family Leader has organized a “Presidential Lecture Series” to enable various potential conservative candidates for president to introduce themselves to Iowa’s more conservative voters. Pawlenty was the group’s first guest.
Other Republicans who are scheduled to appear at the Family Leader Presidential Lecture Series later include U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (March 7), U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (April 11), and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (May 2).