In a short video clip released Tuesday by independent watch-dog group Think Progress, the homophobic president of the anti-gay, conservative christian group “The Family Leader” is seen erupting in laughter at after being told a joke about “fags.”
During an event in Audubon, Iowa back in March, Bob Vander Plaats explained that many Iowans were concerned about the state becoming “the butt of jokes” in the aftermath of a state Supreme Court decision which found that a law prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
He was then interrupted by an attendee who recalled a joke his wife tells about the “fags” marrying in Iowa. Vander Plaats erupts in laughter:
ATTENDEE: You know what my wife says? She says: Iowa, the state where you can’t smoke a fag, but you can marry one.
VANDER PLAATS: Oh shoot, that’s pretty good, that’s pretty good. Oh shoot.
Through his organization, Vander Plaats — a three-time failed Iowa gubernatorial candidate — recently asked GOP prresidential candidates to sign a 14-point “marriage vow” that has stirred enormous controversy for its virulent ant-gay theme.
The pledge seeks to solidify the organization’s reputation as the state’s conservative moral authority, and it reiterates many of the group’s extreme social views and anti-gay rhetoric.
GOP hopefuls Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, who were already on the record for their anti-gay views, have both signed the pledge, although more mainstream GOP contenders have steered clear of signing it. GOP operatives have stated that The Family Leader and its president may be too extreme for Iowa Republicans, alienating moderate and independent voters alike.
Vander Plaats ran the successful campaign to recall three Iowa state supreme court justices who had overturned Iowa’s ban on gay marrriage, and has sought to position himself as a gatekeeper to the conservative voters in the Iowa caucus process.
Vander Plaats’ reaction is not entirely surprising, since he has previously compared homosexuality to the cancerous effects of second-hand smoke, and links supporters to ex-gay repairative therapy.