Likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats says gay marriage will be a major issue in the 2010 GOP primary.
Vander Plaats has promised to issue an executive order which would effectively ban same-sex marriage in Iowa until a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage could be placed on a statewide ballot.
"People in this primary cycle are going to ask every candidate: ‘Are you willing to issue the executive order?’" Vander Plaats predicts.
Critics say the governor of Iowa doesn’t have authority to set aside a ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court — and none of the three other potential Republican candidates for governor who appeared at a weekend forum promised to issue an executive order on gay marriage like Vander Plaats has.
Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat who intends to seek reelection, has said Vander Plaats doesn’t understand how government works. Both Culver and Vander Plaats were high school government teachers and Culver suggested earlier this year that Vander Plaats should know better. Vander Plaats, though, isn’t backing down.
"It’s not because I disagree with the decision — and of course I do disagree with the decision. It’s about the separation of powers — the executive role, the legislative role and the judicial role. There needs to be that healthy tension. And when Culver said, ‘I’ll do everything in my power to make sure Iowa’s (a state where there is) one-man, one-woman (marriage),’ then he came out and he said, ‘Even though I believe in one-man, one-woman (marriage), I’m unwilling to change it,’…so I want this debate," Vander Plaats says. "I want this debate with a government teacher."
Vander Plaats is suggesting he’s better educated than Culver, too.
"I hold more degrees than he does and I have a license to evaluate him as a teacher and I plan on doing that in the 2010 general election," Vander Plaats said Saturday during an appearance in Sac City.
Culver has a masters in education. Vander Plaats has a master’s degree and a "specialists degree" which Vander Plaats describes as an abD — "all but dissertation." Vander Plaats has taken doctoral level classes, but has a few hours of coursework left — and a dissertation to write — before he would be eligible for a phD.
Both Culver and Vander Plaats earned their master’s degrees from Drake University.