Taxpayer Money Used To Fight Gay Marriage in Iowa

The AP reports that a conservative group used federal money to fund a campaign against gay marriage in Iowa.

And it gets worse: the group is a subsidiary of the The Family Leader, sponsor of the crazy marriage pledge that Bachmann and Perry have signed.

The $2.2 million grant from the Dept. of Health and Human Services was supposed to be spent on marriage counseling. But the group, calling itself the Iowa Family Policy Center, evidently has a loose definition of "marriage counseling," because it used some of the taxpayer money to wage a campaign against three state supreme-court justices who legalized gay marriage in Iowa. And what marriage counseling the group did do, it denied to gay couples. So not only was taxpayer money used to fund an anti-gay-marriage crusade; it also went to support discrimination.

Looking at the Iowa Family Policy Center's website, it's hard to imagine how federal officials justified giving them taxpayer dollars in the first place. It says right there on the homepage:

IFPC, a 501(c)3 organization, believes that presenting the truth through education is fundamental in reversing the breakdown of a productive, ordered society caused by the failure of families to produce God-fearing church, civic, social, and family leaders.  One of IFPC’s key strategies is to engage Christians with truthful, biblical, and consistent messages.

Then the group talks about its partnership with the The Truth Project® - "a powerful DVD-based small group Christian worldview curriculum produced by Focus on the Family."

And these guys got $2.2 million in federal funds. How is that legal?

Now for the good news! Iowa's senate leader is vowing to block a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment before it can come to a vote in the state legislature.


Michael Gronstal is a Democrat, and his legislative power will allow him to keep the amendment dormant for at least several years. The aforementioned Family Policy Center has been lobbying for its ratification.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gronstal said he knows his stand against letting voters decide whether to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban gay marriage could hurt him with some constituents, but he was willing to take the risk...

"I'm not going to put discrimination into the state's constitution," said Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs.

Gronstal said he believes his position on gay marriage will attract as many voters as it repels.

"My read is the public at large is changing pretty significantly," Gronstal said. "It used to be that if you're under the age of 30, two-thirds of you were probably fine with gay marriage and if you were over 50, two-thirds of you were against it."

Now, Gronstal said, "more like two-thirds of the people under 40 are fine with it."

Can you imagine that? A politician siding with young people against the outdated attitudes of an older generation? A politician holding to a principle even though he knows it will cost him some votes? If only there were more Gronstals around when 30 states ratified anti-gay-marriage/civil-union amendments over the last decade.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Profiles in Courage.

    Posted by: Kevin_BGFH | Aug 28, 2011 2:02:08 PM

  2. Profiles in Dominionism

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 28, 2011 2:27:20 PM

  3. "The $2.2 million from Health and Human Services was supposed to be spent on marriage counseling."

    Maybe the federal government should stop throwing around taxpayer money like candy and start monitoring exactly where that money ends up. Impose some accountability on those who receive (and misappropriate) funds.

    Let states spend their money first, and then reimburse them only for the money that can be traced directly to intended spending activities.

    Posted by: Max | Aug 28, 2011 2:29:24 PM

  4. So many people out there pitch a hissy fit and say they don't want "THEIR TAX DOLLARS" going to certain things... well, I don't want "MY TAX DOLLARS" going to this. How do we complain?

    Posted by: Harrison | Aug 28, 2011 2:40:33 PM

  5. FED prison time for some people

    Posted by: say what | Aug 28, 2011 3:03:00 PM

  6. sorry guys, i'm not american but following the news I have to say: you guys will never have gay marriage. The anti-gay movement is really organize in the country. It's crazy. I think that besides africa and crazy muslims, the anti-gay movement is not like that in any other country. It's really scary. they are really not shy.

    Maybe the gay movement should focus just in some states and try to keep the ones that already got.

    it's never going to be national value.


    Posted by: Daniel | Aug 28, 2011 3:08:05 PM

  7. Misappropriation of a federal grant is a Federal crime. The FBI routinely investigates and prosecutes, even for amounts as small as just a few thousand dollars.

    I will be interested to learn who is being prosecuted for this one. With any luck, the entire organization will be put out of business.

    Posted by: Steve | Aug 28, 2011 3:58:51 PM

  8. Daniel, you clearly don't know the persistence of American gays and their Allies!! We kick ass and take names, baby!

    Posted by: B | Aug 28, 2011 4:16:48 PM

  9. Rich. Taxpayer money used to work against the constitutional rights of American citizens and against judges who correctly upheld the constitution.

    And, Penn, to be nitpicky because it's my pet peeve, the money wasn't used to fight "gay marriage" because gay couples in IA who are married are simply married, not gay-married. (Gay marriage implies a new institution specifically for gay couples, like separate and unequal CUs, when it fact it's an old institution--marriage--from which there is no rational reason to exclude gay couples.) The money was used to attempt to overthrow MARRIAGE EQUALITY by denying gay Iowans their constitutional rights. The mainstream media may insist on using the misnomer "gay marriage" but Towleroad doesn't have to. Just say no to gay marriage, yes to marriage equality. The words do matter.

    P.S. Daniel: It will be a national value (whether NOM types like it or not) within the next generation because time is on our side (a majority of the young favor equality and that percentage will only increase) and excluding gay couples from federal marriage equality will, sooner or later, be ruled unconstitutional.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 28, 2011 4:39:30 PM

  10. Prosecute the Bastards!

    Posted by: wayne | Aug 28, 2011 4:43:13 PM

  11. The the individual who said gay marriage will never happen I would have to say it will happen, but may take time. There was a day and age where being gay would get you stoned to death (not high, but stoned... with rocks).

    I think it is an amazing thing how the gay community has gotten behind this and tried its best to push it through. Now just keep on keepin on and the goal will be accomplished.
    A site with a painting that supports gay marriage.

    Posted by: Yandor | Aug 28, 2011 6:06:20 PM

  12. Ernie: I like your framing; I've never heard it put that way before and it makes total sense. I'll be trying to think of marriage equality in those terms from now on.

    Posted by: Marc Mielke | Aug 28, 2011 7:37:34 PM

  13. Execute the bastards!

    Meanwhile, we need to stop paying taxes.

    Posted by: Attmay | Aug 28, 2011 10:38:07 PM

  14. This doesn't surprise me; the only thing that would is if they are jailed or fully prosecuted. I just keep thinking about how our money will go to protecting the Republican candidates for President this next year, as they bash and bait us across the nation, using hate and fear to try and get elected. That also makes me sick.

    Posted by: GEORGIA UNITY | Aug 29, 2011 3:28:38 PM

  15. Daniel is right!

    Except for a few muslim countries, no other country has a highly organized religious resistance to gay marriage like the US does. Mock muslims all you want but you're really mocking yourself cause you're not all that different.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 29, 2011 3:44:51 PM

  16. Wait a minute. So this group is misusing tax-payer dollars for a narrow agenda that goes against the guaranteed rights (gained lawfully) by Iowa citizens? How come the TEA PARTY hasn't jumped all over this one with objections to unlawfully accessing U.S. tax dollars?

    Posted by: AJ | Aug 30, 2011 1:30:05 AM

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