Jeff Angelo, a former state senator, has formed a new group he’s calling “Iowa Republicans for Freedom” with the goal of sparking an internal party debate about “marriage equality.”
He’d like to get organized to the point that Republicans attending the Iowa Caucuses early next year propose planks to the party platform which support the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony. Angelo says his thinking on this issue has evolved (during his 12-year tenure in the state senate he supported efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa). Now, he wants to “influence my party from the inside” to rethink its position on the issue.
AUDIO: news conference on the statehouse ground. 28 min
Angelo was asked about the group’s name — Iowa Republicans for Freedom — and its similarity to Iowa for Freedom, the group headed by anti-gay marriage activists who successfully campaigned against retaining three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had joined the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling on same-sex marriage. Angelo says the name of the group is not an attempt to be “clever” or target any individual like Bob Vander Plaats, the three-time GOP candidate for governor who chaired Iowa for Freedom last year.
“The name is simply to reflect that Republicans over the last couple of years have really been talking about individual freedom, party of freedom, limited government and it’s meant to allow people to see that supporting marriage equality is in line with those values,” Angelo said near the end of the half-hour-long news conference.