Democrat Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson is accusing Doug Gross, the Republican candidate for Governor, of being hostile to gays. Pederson says Gross told the Christian Coalition he would press for a state law which would make it illegal for gays and lesbians to serve the state in institutions like the Iowa National Guard. Pederson says it’s important for people to know what a person coming into the office is saying about an issue having to do with people’s civil rights. Gross campaign spokesman Eric Woolson says Gross opposes the idea of having gays serve in the military, but will not propose a state law. Woolson says Vilsack and Pederson are trying to draw people’s attention away from the economy with this issue, because they’ve failed to grow the economy of the state. In 1993, the U.S. military instituted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed homosexuals to serve if they weren’t open or a “practicing” homosexual. Enlistment in the Iowa National Guard is governed by federal rules, and while a state law could be passed to bar gays from the Guard, it wouldn’t be enforceable unless the state sets up all the enlistment requirements. Since the feds finance most of the Iowa Guard’s operations, there could also be a federal backlash against such state rules.
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