Gay marriage foe: Homosexuality a ‘public health risk’ akin to ‘secondhand smoke’


Iowa‘s social conservative groups are working to overturn the state’s marriage equality law, and that includes former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa Family Leader, who has called homosexuality “a public health risk.”

“If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle,” Vander Plaats told ThinkProgress recently.

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Vander Plaats and the Iowa Family Leader are at the forefront of a misinformation campaign to support the anti-equality effort, reports ThinkProgress:

Vander Plaats, currently on a 99-county tour intended to solicit support for the Family Leader and rally social conservatives, regularly compares gay marriage to polygamy and incest, telling audiences, “Why not open it up! Bisexual, polygamy, multiple women? Why not?” Earlier this year, Vander Plaats was caught on video railing against “absolute tolerance” during a campaign stop.

Most outlandish, however, was the Family Leader’s comparison on its website of homosexuality to secondhand cigarette smoke. (The Family Leader later removed the link to, a website which asserts that homosexuality reduces life expectancy by up to 35 years and promotes the idea that homosexuality is a curable disease.)

Vander Plaats was a leader of the effort that resulted in the voter recall of three Iowa supreme court justices last November. His advocacy group, Family Leader, wants the remaining four Supreme Court justices who ruled for marriage equality in 2009 to resign, and is calling for their impeachment if they do not.

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