A group pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa is charging that key Democrats in the legislature are getting campaign contributions from wealthy gay rights activists. Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center says the money’s being funneled into campaign accounts set up by the Democrats who lead the Iowa House and Senate.

"A dozen or so out-of-state millionaires, in some cases I think billionaires, have sent several hundred thousand dollars in campaign cash," Hurley says. "These donors have been identified as longterm financial supporters of efforts to block constitutional amendments in other states."

Hurley charges the money is a payoff to the leaders who’re refusing to have the legislature vote to set the wheels in motion for statewide balloting on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  "A very small cadre of very wealthy homosexual activist donors seem to be pulling the strings with Senator Gronstal and Senator Murphy," Hurley says.

House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, brushes aside Hurley’s charge. "We are not influenced by any contributions that are given by anybody," Murphy says.

Murphy repeatedly has said he will not bring the constitutional amendment up for a vote in the House and today he criticized the media for reporting Hurley’s comments. "I think this also gets a little ridiculous. There’s a lot of grenade throwing here and the bottom line is I’m not going to tolerate it," Murphy said during a statehouse news conference. "…I have already told you what my opinion is and it’s not changing. We are not taking up this bill this year. Period."

House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines is accusing Hurley of being "hateful" by releasing the list of "homosexual" contributors. "You know, we should probably order scarlet letters and give them to Chuck Hurley so he can put them on people who (he), through his research, determines may be gay," McCarthy says.

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal issued a written statement in response to Hurley: "With this latest publicity stunt, Mr. Hurley has violated a couple of the Ten Commandments and committed at least one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But why should this surprise Iowans? Mr. Hurley’s real motivation has always been hatemongering and raising money from hardworking Iowans to cover his salary. It’s a shame that he’s more interested in spreading hate and lies than supporting policies that would actually improve the lives of all Iowa families."